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Based of a true story about a journalist who gets detained and brutally interrogated in prison for 118 days. The journalist Maziar Bahari was blindfolded and interrogated for 4 months in Evin prison in Iran, while the only distinguishable feature about his captor is the distinct smell of rosewater. An interview and sketch that Maziar did with a journalist on The Daily Show was used as evidence that Maziar was a spy and in communication with the American government and the CIA.Written by
Maziar Bahari was imprisoned, interrogated, and beaten in Iran for 118 days in 2009 on charges that he was attempting to stage the overthrow of the Iranian government. One of the pieces of "evidence" that Bahari's Iranian captors held against him as proof of his guilt was footage from a segment on The Daily Show (1996) in which he was interviewed by Jason Jones pretending to be a spy. During the sketch, Bahari called Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an "idiot". After he was released, Bahari was interviewed on "The Daily Show" by Jon Stewart, who discussed the role that the show had (inadvertently) played in his imprisonment. Stewart and Bahari became friendly, and Stewart decided to adapt Bahari's 2011 book "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival" (co-written with Aimee Molloy) into a screenplay. See more »
The "You're not alone" writing Maziar leaves on the wall near the end of the movie, changes when the next prisoner enters the cell. See more »
When I was nine my sister took me to the Shrine of Masumeh. It was beautiful. I will never forget the smell. A mix of sweat and rosewater they showered down on the faithful. I used to think only the most pious carried that scent.
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"Rosewater" (2014 release; 103 min.) brings the true story of Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari. As the movie opens, it is "June 21, 2009", when we see Iranian police arrest Bahari at his mother's house in Tehran. We then go back to June 9, 2009, a few days before the presidential elections in Iran. Bahari is making final preparations in the UK for his trip to Iran, and we learn that his wife is pregnant. To tell you much more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for your self how it all plays out.
Several comments: first, much of the movie's claim to fame comes from the fact that this is written and directed by Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show. Stewart's script is based on Bahari's memoir "Then They Came For Me". Second, the movie is divided up into 2 halves: in the first half we see what transpires in the days before and after the elections, and the second half brings the imprisonment of Bahari. I must admit I enjoyed the first half more, not because the second half is "bad", but because Stewart pulls no punches on the emotional and psychological torture which Bahari must endure. Some scenes are simply very tough to watch. Stewart uses quite a bit of archive footage in the first half of the movie. Third, the infamous scene from The Daily Show in which Bahari is mock-interviewed by an American "spy", is played up in the movie, to great effect (the Iranian interrogator/torturer asks: "why did you interview the American spy?", to which Bahari responds: "if he was really a spy, why would he have his own TV show?", ha!). There are several other lighter moments which benefit the movie greatly. At one point Bahari obtains an interview with an Iranian spokesman by offering chocolates. "Allah is no match for chocolates", Bahari tells his co-workers, ha! Last but not least, there is a nice orchestral soundtrack, composed by veteran Howard Shore.
The movie opened on all of 2 screens for all of Greater Cincinnati this weekend. I had been looking forward to this, and went to see it right away. The early evening screening I saw this at was not particularly well attended, but this doesn't surprise me. This is not particularly a feel-good movie, and not for a broad audience. If on the other hand you are interested in the topic, I would readily recommend that you check out this movie, be in the theater, or later on DVD/Blu-ray.
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