Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Must-See Cinema: Rosewater 2014

This week's must-see cinema is a fairly new one, Rosewater from 2014, directed by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart in his directorial debut.


This is a terrific movie, especially the psychological torture scenes rendered in unbelievable verisimilitude. It concerns the story of an Iranian-Canadian film journalist who goes on a brief trip back to Iran to cover the 1999 presidential election and finds himself caught up in a strange and mysterious web of suspicion that rivals something out of Kafka.

It was filmed in Jordan, with some second-unit shots of events in Tehran. and features the real life story of Maziar Bahari, whose 2011 book describing his nightmare, Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival , describes the 118 days he was kept in solitary confinement and underwent some brutal psychological torture at the hands of a guy called "Rosewater" -- hence the title.

It is definitely not a comedy -- although there is some humor in it, in the interrogations by Rosewater and Bahari's response to certain questions, and a brief appearance by The Daily Show's Jason Jones, recreating a scene from a location shot in Iran that is used against Bahari. It is a surprising and enjoyable first outing from a director who could have a whole new career ahead of him when he quits The Daily Show later this year.

More reading:
  · Rosewater on the IMDB.
  · Rosewater at Rotten Tomatoes
  · Rosewater at  Metacritic
  · Rosewater for rent on Netflix