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Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”) depicts a remarkable, somewhat fictionalized, tale of one man’s “red badge of courage”; in 2009 Maziar Bahari (“Then They Came for Me”) was arrested and incarcerated for filming the riots in Teheran, Iran after the election; Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal soars as “Bahari” an Iranian-born, London-based journalist working for Newsweek; Western confidence and ebullience inform his savoir faire and piquant naiveté; once incarcerated and tortured, illusions slain,  he relies on remembrances of his sister and father to inflate his courage and engage in a creative, at times hilarious repartee with his interrogator, whose cloying scent of “rosewater” (penetrating performance by Kim Bodina) announces his presence to a blindfolded Bahari before uttering a word.

Watching this provocative, brilliant, quasi- documentary, resonating with the restrictiveness of a totalitarian society, imprisonment of those who voice disapproval of its leaders, cauterizing “free speech”, shrouding of its women; seeing  positive fissures, individuals who refuse subjugation, harnessing their resolve, utilizing the tool of ultimate redemption; the film concludes with a young boy, his tiny cell –phone, filming the destruction of satellite dishes;  a technological weapon, more powerful than any gun or explosive, a harbinger of hope, forecasting an era where fear tactics and threats from a “god of carnage” no longer strangle one’s will and perseverance.

FOUR STARS!!!!

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