There’s little we can reasonably anticipate about Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater, given the oddity of this man’s transition from talk-show host to film director. Word will, however come soon: ahead of its November release, Open Road are to premiere the picture at Telluride and TIFF, and, ahead of that, there is a first trailer.

What most (myself included) will attempt to first take note of are Stewart’s compositions, which manage to impress on the most basic of levels: they simply look nice. (One nevertheless wonders how much help Bobby Bukowski [99 Homes, Very Good Girls] offered during the process.) As for the rest? An inspirational story based on true events, no less with the sort of political stance its director has so clearly made an entire career from discussing, is hardly anything new, but this is a fascinating tale regardless. With that in mind, should it make for a strong, more-dramatic-than-usual entry into his repertoire — and contain an expectedly strong turn from Gael García Bernal, too — Rosewater ought to be of enough interest to justify itself.

Watch the preview below:



Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal.

Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured 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.

With Bahari’s wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government.

Rosewater will premiere on November 7, following a festival run at Telluride and TIFF.

Any thoughts on this first trailer and Stewart’s attempts to direct?

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