Jon Stewart movie headed for Oz

12 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Rosewater, a true-life drama about a journalist who was imprisoned in Iran, written and directed by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, will open in Australian cinemas in January.

Transmission Films, which bought the rights after seeing the film at the Cannes Film Festival market, is planning a release on around 10 screens.


“It’s a powerful and timely film,” said Transmission co-founder Andrew Mackie, who had been tracking the project since meeting Stewart at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. “Also we’re big fans of Jon Stewart, so couldn't resist.”

Gael García Bernal plays Tehran-born Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who returned to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi's supporters rose to protest Ahmadinejad's victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari took a huge 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.

Variety’s Scott Foundas said Bahari’s ordeal is brought to the screen with “impressive tact and intelligence by writer-director Jon Stewart, an alternately sombre and darkly funny drama that may occupy the same geographic terrain as Argo (to which it will inevitably be compared), but in most other respects could hardly be more different.”

Foundas continued, “Largely a two-hander between Bahari and the interrogator who puts him through a gauntlet of soul-crushing mind games, Stewart’s confident, superbly acted debut feature works as both a stirring account of human endurance and a topical reminder of the risks faced by journalists in pursuit of the truth, minus the caper antics and flag waving of Ben Affleck’s populist Oscar winner.”’s James Rocchi opined, “Considering how few directors in America are willing to tackle political stories at all — never mind political stories in other nations – – Stewart deserves a nod for having actual guts and conviction in his choice of story to tell.”

Open Road launches the film in the US on November 7. The Australian release date isn’t set in stone but is likely to be January 22.