DRAMA; 1hr 43min
STARRING: Gael García Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Shohreh Aghdashloo
In 2009, Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari (Bernal) is in Tehran covering the divisive Iranian presidential elections for Newsweek while visiting his mother (Aghdashloo as Molojoon). Following a satirical interview with The Daily Show ’s Jason Jones (as himself) posing as a spy, the Revolutionary Guard police raid Moloojoon’s home and unceremoniously cart Bahari to Evin Prison where he is kept in solitary confinement, interrogated and tortured for 118 days. (He’s accused of spying, although, really, his “crime” is filming the post-election demonstrations.) Bahari is blindfolded during the bulk of his sessions, his eruptive interrogator (Bodnia) distinguished by voice and the fragrance of rosewater. “I used to think,” Bernal says in voice over “only the most pious carried that scent.”
Directing his first feature, The Daily Show ’s Jon Stewart is cool-headedly on top of the slippery political and tactical hydra that was Bahari’s incessant torment. His screenplay of Bahari’s 2011 memoir never invests in emotional overload, emphasising instead the fortitude of Bahari’s wit and imagination — gifts that kept body and soul united when his centre of gravity was gone.