Lost Voices: The Stoning of Soraya M.

Welcome to the Labragirl Film Project’s weekly film literacy discussion. Every Monday morning Labragirl provides a resource, activity, or methodological discussion to help incorporate film analysis into your classroom.

Last week we discussed cultural memory and the role moving images playing in shaping our collective understanding of the past.

This week we are joining a conversation from our sister company – Labragirl Pictures‘ blog.  This discussion about the film The Stoning of Soraya M. combines film analysis with two of the Labragirl Film Project’s goals:

  • Fostering a global perspective
  • Addressing racial and gender inequalities 

Please comment below or discuss with us on 



Classroom Discussion Synopsis: 

This week’s Moving Images-Moving Forward conversation explores the film The Stoning of Soraya M.

Grade Level: High School & College

Educational Goals:

  • Help students apply film analysis and film reading skills to larger global discussions
  • Foster a global perspective and understanding of the world
  • Help students think critically about their interactions with moving images
  • Encourage students to navigate critical thinking discussions about moving images & historical images

The Stoning of Soraya M., 2008

{Warning: This blog post contains movie spoilers.}

Based on a true story, The Stoning of Soraya M. was adapted from the book La femme lapidé by Iranian—French journalist Freidoune Sahebjam. Sahebjam’s book was also published in English as: The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Story of Injustice in Iran.

{Click on image for source info.}

Have you seen The Stoning of Soraya M.?

What do you think about it?

This film tells the story of an Iranian woman who was unjustly stoned to death in 1986. This movie provides an intimate look into a small, remote Iranian village – exploring customs, morals, and social norms. Additionally, visual life and sound are given to the women in this town—women who have been otherwise silenced.

The Stoning of Soraya M. Official Trailer

Perhaps most disturbing in this movie is the 20+ minute stoning scene. It’s real, brutal, and visually intense. What makes this sequence so disturbing is also what seems to give the story and the characters in this film stronger voices. If the filmmakers had chosen to allude to the stoning, rather than recreate the execution, then maybe the story wouldn’t be as shocking.

A still from the film’s stoning scene. {Source: http://dianiko.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/the-stoning-of-soraya-m/}

If the stoning scene were shorter then maybe the slow and painful process of stoning would not seem as violent or tragic. Or, maybe if the stoning was filmed from a distance rather than with a series of close-up images, the reality of the situation wouldn’t be as powerful.

What do you think about these images?

Would this movie had been the same without such a prolonged and unapologetic stoning scene?


Did you use any of these discussions or activities in your classroom? How did it go?

Do you teach film reading and film analysis?

What are some exercises you use?

We’d love to hear from you.

Please comment below or discuss with us on .

*Disclaimer: All movie clips are suggestions for class use, only. All instructors should screen clips to determine if they are appropriate to use in their classrooms. 


UP NEXT 6/3: Lost Voices: X Restored

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Bring Labragirl into your classroom. Contact us at info@labragirlfilmproject.org or fill out our Interest & Inquiry Form.


Previous Blog Entries

Film & Cultural Memory I

Film Education

Relevance – the 4th ‘R’

Making Film I

Talking Film I

Downton Abbey in Your Class #1 – Roll Sound!

Reading Film

Fictional Projections of History

Think Globally Using Film

Our Relationship with Movies

Moving Past Historical Accuracy

Images Telling Stories

Film Shaping History

Think Film Images


©2013 Labragirl Film Project. All rights reserved.


One thought on “Lost Voices: The Stoning of Soraya M.

  1. I can’t believe that how a community can be so brutal. I am still shock to know about this real story. I never heard before about The Stoning of Soraya M. but the images and trailer of the film explains the grief of Iranian women and the brutal attitude of that community.

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