Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rosewater By Jon Stewart ~ Film Review

By: Uel Ceballos

For a first-time director, Jon Stewart made an impressive directing debut through his first masterpiece, Rosewater. He was brave enough to create a film which was opposite to his personality as a comedian. One would expect Stewart to create a satirical film just as his TV show The Daily Show but he optioned a biopic film of Maziar Bahari that explored a sensitive political issue.

I wasn’t clearly aware of this event in Tehran until I saw Rosewater. The chaos of things however wasn’t a surprise to me. It happens everywhere. It happens in our own country as well –the cheating on the election, the suppression of the freedom to express, and the violent attack of the regime to the outrageous protesters and reformists. For such event to be told is one thing, but for that to be told in a film is another. As I said, the brutality against the common people is not news to me as well as the participation of America in each and every event-worth-putting-to-the-history-book. Jon Stewart has definitely made a bold act here, revealing to the world the dark side of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, and releasing it just a year after Ahmadinejad stepped down from the office. While I’m quite sure that details in the film are based to the real life of Maziar Bahari, I couldn’t help thinking that some details are probably not covered to avoid tarnishing someone’s or some administration’s image. Nonetheless, apart from the accuracy of the events told, Rosewater is a good film.

Oftentimes, the impact of the film is risked when the story is a true-to-life one. Since you can’t add more exciting twist, you can’t change the order of the events, and you can’t add characters more than who is actually involved, all you can do is to make the film as tasteful and exciting as you can make it. Biopic film often suffers the tendency of falling into the category of a boring, monotonous film. However, Rosewater made it across the line with the right mixture of drama. Gael Garcia Bernal is a good choice. I’ve often pictured him as the charming actor that he is but to see him in a serious journalist role is something to look forward to. The musical scoring is one sure of a delicious spice for the film; it did so much to uplift the spirit of the story. The choice of the beat and the type of music were compelling enough to provoke the sympathy of the audiences. I admired the way that the filmmakers beautifully incorporated a potential music to the major turnout of the events in the movie. From that part when Bahari was telling Rosewater of the massages he has gotten addicted to, going to the scene where he danced inside his cell after learning that Hilary Clinton kept pushing for his realease– the music was a clear indication that the things were starting to build up, with the rising sensation of hopes for Bahari’s situation. I found it brilliant for the filmmakers to deliver the story in a not-so-unusual but compelling treatment, thus making the serious topic palatable even to those who are not so much into politics. I know it wasn’t meant to be an entertaining film but really to see Garcia Bernal smirking discreetly and dancing sexily (I know, I know that was not sexy dancing and he wasn’t meant to dance sexy after all but he couldn’t really help being hot when he moved like that), make the people curve a smile in their lips too.

Overall, the whole point was delivered and it sure did call international attention. It's not only in Tehran that journalist and media men are arrested and tortured for bearing witness, it has been a common situation anywhere else especially in countries with authoritarian and dictatorship form of leadership. To end this article I’d like to quote Bahari in the last part of the film where he said, “finally, I was free, but my joy is tempered by those I left behind. People that did not have the advantage of international attention. Countrymen and women, whose only crime against the state is not believing in its perfection.” May justice be served to those who need it.