|Maziar Bahari <--> Jon Stewart|
It turns out that back in 2009, when Iran was embroiled in the reelection campaign of Ahmadineijad as President of Iran, the "election" was marked by fraud, and Maziar Bahari, an Iranian/Canadian, had gone there to cover the election for Newsweek. While there, Jason Jones, from The Daily Show, interviewed Bahari for a comedy segment aired on the show. Jones called himself a spy and accused Bahari of being a terrorist. It was funny, but when the Iranian authorities saw it, they took Bahari off to jail and threw him in solitary confinement until he would admit to his crimes.
Stewart must have felt pretty awful about being part of the reason for his imprisonment, and I remember during the four months that Bahari was incarcerated, Stewart mentioned it almost every day on his show. When Bahari wrote a book (which I have on order from my local library) about the experience entitled Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival, Stewart decided to write a a screenplay based on the book and direct it himself.
I loved the movie. The main part is about Bahari's imprisonment and interaction with his interrogator, whom he called "Rosewater" because of the scent he wore. Since Bahari was blindfolded much of the time, he recognized the man by his smell. The actor who plays Bahari is actually a Mexican actor (Garcia Bernal), and although most of the dialogue is in accented English, I didn't find this to be a problem. The story was much more about how to stay sane when enduring psychological (and sometimes physical) torture. Richard Corliss of Time Magazine said it perfectly for me:
Though not really a comedy, Rosewater is a demonstration of the creed behind The Daily Show: belief in the crucial need for impious wit against entrenched power. The freedom of the press is also the freedom to depress, and to inspire. That’s a message that can outlive any Oscar season. It would be nice if it could also overcome any regime.It is a really good movie. I hope you go see it.
Oh thanks for this. I also wondered about how he would do with this endeavor. I'll have to see Rosewater now.ReplyDelete
Thank you. And I loved hearing the back story about why he felt he HAD to make this movie.ReplyDelete
Love the show. I have to confess to watching it only sporadically but when I do I love it. Jon is great and he is also a great presenter. He also has a British sidekick whose name escapes me now.ReplyDelete
Good post. Thanks.
Greetings from London.
wow. i can certainly see why he'd want this movie made. what a feeling of responsibility he must have had.ReplyDelete
There are some amazing stories of people who have been detained in foreign countries under false charges. It sounds like they really nailed the experience in this one.ReplyDelete
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Thanks for the review. I read the review in the Seattle Times yesterday - it got 3.5 stars out of a possible 4.ReplyDelete
One more for my list! Thanks for the review. I love the daily show.ReplyDelete
What an incredible story - and true, too, not fiction.ReplyDelete
Rosewater's on my list now.ReplyDelete
Saw them being interviewed by Fareed Zakaria on CNN this morning. One thing about it bothers me: the presumption, by following Stewart's story, that nothing important happens in our world until it happens to a celebrity. Still, sounds like an interesting movie.ReplyDelete
Glad to learn the back story.ReplyDelete
Thanks. Another on my to see list. I can see where Jon would have felt some guilt. Just glad it had a happy ending. Jon has a new career maybe??ReplyDelete
Watched them interviewed by Charley Rose recently. Most interesting story.ReplyDelete
Jon Steward was on CNN today and I heard about the movie for the first time. It looks terrific and I'm so glad you liked it. I'll definitely be seeing it too.ReplyDelete
There are several movies out now that I want to see, this one included. I also want to see the Bill Murray one and the one about the wrestlers. You'd think that I could find the time to go to a movie since I'm retired!ReplyDelete
Guilt and sorrow for what he said and did and felt, I can understand why the movie was made.ReplyDelete
I will add it to my list of hope to see. But I don't see many unless they turn up on my home box office.ReplyDelete