The Patience Stone

Posted on 07. Nov, 2015 by in Live Action Cat Films

In The Patience Stone, a cat plays a brief but important part in a disenfranchised girl child’s destiny in a location deliberately set-decorated to look like an unspecified part of Pakistan or Afghanistan, as a backdrop to a story concerning how badly women are treated in these places, as narrated by a mother of two who tells her story to her aunt and to her paralyzed, speechless, much older husband, for whom she appears to be the sole caregiver.
The story of how she married this man in the first place begins well before the event: though hers was an arranged marriage, it was one that had a chance of being made for the “right” reasons (family honor and alliances, maybe even ideas about compatibility) and took place when she reached the relatively advanced age of seventeen. She credited direct action on her part and the serendipitous appearance of a wandering cat on her family’s property with allowing her a later marriage to a better man. Her father had raised quail and wagered money on quail fights. When he bet too much, and one of his quail lost a fight, he gave her 12-year old older sister in marriage to the 40 year old winner to pay the bet. This is portrayed in the movie as her father meeting the other man in the parlor and brokering the deal over a pot of tea, while the heroine of The Patience Stone, as a conspicuously little girl, looks on, hoping to avoid a similar fate. A cat meows off screen as the meeting between the men concludes, and the little girl turns her head towards the sound. The camera cuts away to show a common brown tabby or striped cat of unspecified gender in the dusty courtyard of their single-family home, rubbing against a stone wall in a display of territoriality.
The cat had been hanging around, she explains, and as cats have been known to do, watching and hoping for an opportunity to catch and eat the quail. The girl finds a way to open the quail’s cage unseen and unsuspected by her father at a time when the cat is nearby. The cat caught and killed the quail, thus putting an end to her father’s quail-fight wagering, at least for the time being.
The cat is then seen eating the dead quail. In spite of her having done what she believed to have been a favor for the cat, as well as for herself, she claims that after the feast, “the cat turned on me”, with the result that in adulthood, she had a straight scar extending from one of her eyebrows across her temple to her hairline.

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