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'Stoning of Soraya' Gets Acclaim, Wider Release

By Jim Meyers   |   Friday, 10 Jul 2009 11:33 AM

The movie "The Stoning of Soraya M.," which opened as a limited release two weeks ago, has received critical acclaim and is about to enjoy wider distribution.

The film, set in Iran, was produced by Steve McEveety, who produced Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ," and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer and director of the award-winning TV movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot."

"The Stoning of Soraya M." centers around an Iranian woman who was stoned to death on a concocted charge of infidelity.

The movie is based on a 1994 book by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, who traveled to an Iranian village in the mid-1980s, after the overthrow of the Shah, and heard the story of a woman's stoning.

In the movie, the journalist learns that Soraya's husband wanted to marry a younger woman, and rather than pursue a divorce, he fabricated an adultery charge. Village leaders deemed that a crime against Islam, and handed down a death sentence.

The journalist is portrayed by Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in Gibson's "Passion."

McEveety told Newsmax: "We are adding seven screens this weekend and all of them are in Florida. That means that almost one third of the theaters in the country showing 'The Stoning' are in Florida. How we perform there will have a big impact on whether exhibitors add screens across the country."

Ronald Kessler, Newsmax's chief Washington correspondent, viewed a screening of the film. He called it "gripping," and said it raises the question: "How can mob hysteria and intimidation so completely replace human decency." [To read Kessler's "Movie's Spotlight on Stoning Death Brings Abuse Out of Shadows," Go Here Now.]

McEveety, who calls himself "pro-women, pro-freedom," said: "Florida may actually have a huge impact on how women are treated in Iran and other parts of the world."

To see the movie's trailer, visit "The Stoning of Soraya M." Web site here.

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