The film is based on the New York Times bestselling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by BBC journalist Maziar Bahari.
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“Rosewater” follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a 42-year-old broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship living in London. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, who was the prime challenger to controversial incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
As Moussavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed on election day, Bahari endured great personal risk by submitting camera footage of the unfolding street riots to the BBC. Bahari was soon arrested by Revolutionary Guard police, led by a man identifying himself only as “Rosewater,” who proceeded to torture and interrogate the journalist over the next 118 days.
In October 2009, with Bahari’s wife leading an international campaign from London to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets, including “The Daily Show,” continuing to keep the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government.
“Rosewater” has a direct connection to Stewart, who since taking over as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in 1999, has turned the nightly half-hour into a satirical look at newsmakers. Stewart and” The Daily Show” covered Bahari’s saga nightly and he had the journalist appear on the show (photo above) to talk about his ordeal once he was released from prison.