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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gael Garcia Bernal is Tehran-Born Journalist Maziar Bahari in Jon Stewart's Directorial Debut

At first glance, the trailer for ROSEWATER looks hella random, especially for those like myself who have never heard of the project until today. While I love Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, I wonder why he was cast to play a notable person of Tehran descent (when there are other available actors), and how funnyman Jon Stewart got involved as a director and screenwriter. Interestingly, the subject of the film, journalist Maziar Bahari, was featured in this satirical video that aired on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" soon before the he was detained and tortured by the Iranian government in 2009. So...yeah, awkward. But Stewart has always walked a fine line between politics and entertainment, so that may also have something to do with his interest in the project.

That aside, there is no denying Bernal's powerful performance in the 2-minute clip alone. Clearly he has risen to the challenge, and even kinda looks like Bahari in certain scenes. I'm not very familiar with Bahari's story, except that he was captured and imprisoned while on assignment in Iran back in 2009 (and that he himself is a filmmaker), but ROSEWATER looks riveting and timely considering current news headlines. And I'm always here for Bernal and the eternally underrated Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays his mother. I am also interested to see how Stewart (who's also a producer on the film) will tackle such a heavy story as a new director, and what he's chosen to focus on in the film.

Read the synopsis:

Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal.

Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police, led by a man identifying himself only as “Rosewater,” who tortured and interrogated him over the next 118 days.

With Bahari’s wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government.

Watch the trailer:

ROSEWATER will have its world premiere Friday at the Telluride Film Festival and is slated to hit theaters November 7th.


Dell said...

Bernal is amazing in everything I've seen him in so I'm looking forward to this.

Brittani Burnham said...

I love Bernal, so I will definitely be seeing this.

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