Rosewater : A Film Review

How a Journalist is likened to a Spy
In all consciousness Jon Stewart satirist to Tony Blair turned Film Director took to being behind a camera like a pro.

The guy, JS, has been in front of the camera for so long his instinct for a story and how to tell it for effect is well honed.
His American status is unchallenged as he has become the Daily Digest, distinguishable past the Joe .. Adam .. David … The Brit blow ins etc now sofa couch being delight in viewing.
The subject of this film is in the safety zone of a now returned Journalist, the mercurial Mr Newsweek reporter once a witness to atrocity in Tehran when as a camera man following the 2009 Iranian Elections began on the ground excursions to the outlying Iranian hinterlands hopeful through his own sense of Iran born of Iranian/Canadian parentage and courage of insightful thoughtful journalistic endeavour.

This true story was in better if that can even be contemplated as ‘scalable’ on the atrocities visited to numerous journalists over the past few decades.
They have died. Been beheaded, used as proxy bombers, maimed and their families wrecked through death, harbour, connection over all continents.
The visiting of these lives is from many viewpoint gut wrenching, from the pale waif of a student being buried in the Gaza under tonnes of Israeli bull dozed sand. To the Many vigils of processional death which IsIs use as propaganda on links of current social media.
Satirist Events
Jon Stewart does not get my vote as a satirist of particular gift or insight.
The ability to become greater than a bar-room skeptic and tutored cynic of Politics and the malaise which passes as press documentation has on ya certain hubris when it is engulfed within the morass that is the United States of America junk culture. We got Obama before they did. No wonder kid going to deliver for them any day soon. No we, or some of us thought J.F. Kennedy was a well heeled immigrant with Wexford strains of begohraah tunefully oratating about space while forgetting, Vietnam, white power controls, Corporate greed and Capital supremacy not to mention the embarkations to Communist fields of endeavour.
Real Events
Set in this volatile atmosphere it proves the stakes are very much on the side of the heavily armed as well as politically indoctrinated. The current, that is 2015, governance of Iran depends still on the hypocrisies prevalent with this films central theme. Justice for the World by dominance of authoritarianism. The authoritarianism held down by religious privilege and the pausal reflection given to theology of a kind. Kindness, love thy neighbour do not feature highly in this reinvention of satire.
Gael Garcia Bernal plays Mazier Bahari with the kind of naivity of a rookie journalist. That suits Jon Stewart with the picture aimed at the mainstream of American opinion. The horrors of a place torn apart by – Foreign – intervention is after all not a diet for Cinema unless there is a hero and villain or axis involved of conspiratorial blood thickened waste. The belief being it will sink in that dear old USA has a major hand in it.

The beginning is a domestic scene in London with Mazier cuddling up to his English wife listening expectantly to their pre-born child nestled in a comfortable home with a future unhindered by heavy hits. The possible of danger is not taken for granted. There is at the very beginning. The flash forward except the way I describe it here is the flashback to the arrest In Tehran at his family home after the Elections aftermath.
This is a comedic and piece of nonsensical interrogation undertaken by a Police suspecting, knowing he filmed and distributed with Channel 4 reporter Lynsey Hilvsens assistance, (she is spotted at the location with an eye patch as another TINY piece of directorial hubris for the deceased War reporter – – leaning against a closed gate) as his childhood record collection, his film books, DVD collection is trawled over the opportunity to become jocular is not missed. Some find it funny, even Mazier whose mother is asked to wear a Hijab in her own home. I found that more insightful.

Rosewater of the title is a dual entity.
It is his interrogators code name. It is also the central scent of Iran – it’s Chan(n)el No. 4. The fragrance is an essence.

Conclusion ###
This is a bold reconstruction of events and it is of significance that it is told by Jon Stewart. It opens up and scopes out a way of telling albeit in unconventional, still by comedic harnessed means a part of recent history from which the fallout is immense and of proportions not yet envisages.
Cinematically there are bold intensely emotional scenes and you will see the converse/adverse conditions the Iranian nation finds itself bound into.

The scenes where the ghost of Maziers father chides him; he a former detainee also make for complex personal decisions to be made. The visits to the cell. In fact the film is largely cell based, are destructively as real as can be tolerated visually and by no means as accurate as the reality might otherwise have it. Kim Bodnia (Martin Rohde from The Bridge) plays the interrogator and his performance as all are very we’ll gathered and here Jon Stewart gets the very best tonaly visually, expressively from his collaborators.
The producers also deserve credit.

Well worth seeing this and edited to the criminal political conspiracies and plot stretched stories which are passed of as real spy or conspiracy narratives.

While this is no masterpiece it is heartfelt and broadly challenging. The real Iran though still has no voice.

John Graham


10 May 2015


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