Rosewater

The 2009 Iranian presidential election sparked a series of protests against the disputed victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal) was sent by Newsweek to cover the election and it’s aftermath. Following the election, Bahari took pictures of soldiers shooting into the crowd of protesters. Rosewater starts with Bahari being arrested in his mother’s home in Tehran by the Iranian secret service. The film is adapted from Bahari’s book about what happened to him. This is The daily show host Jon Stewart’s first film. From the start we know this going to be a look at the middle east like no other. To the secret service every thing they find in Bahari’s home is a strike against him. “Porn!” yells an agent holding a DVD of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema. Another item : “Porn!”. And then another : “Jewish!”. Even a Leonard Cohen record. Maziar Bahari was arrested, sent to Tehran’s Evin prison and interrogated for long hours. He is accused of being a spy. As proof they show him a fake interview he did with a fake spy for The daily show. During the long hours of physical and psychological torture, Bahari is blindfolded and does not see his interrogator. Bahari named him “Rosewater” (Kim Bodnia) because of his perfume. When he is in his cell, Bahari has imaginary conversations with his dead father and sister, who were also political prisoners. This is Gael García Bernal best part in a long time and Danish actor Kim Bodnia plays the tormentor with just the right amount of humor. Because this is what is so peculiar and fantastic about Rosewater. This epic screenplay by Stewart is spiced with a sence of the ridiculous and we surprise ourselves with sudden bursts of laughter. A great screenplay. A great film.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Rosewater

 

Directed by: 
Jon Stewart
 
Screenplay by: 
Jon Stewart
Based on Then They Came For Me: A
Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity,
And Survival by Maziar Bahari
and Aimee Molloy
 
Starring: 
Gael García Bernal
Kim Bodnia
Shoreh Aghdashloo
Dimitri Leonids
 
103 min.
 
Rated 14A
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