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Rosewater (2014)

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 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.

There will be a Q&A with Negar Mottahedeh and Phil Bennett after the film.


Negar Mottahedeh is a cultural critic and film theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film Studies. She is known for her work on Iranian Cinema, but has also published on the history of reform and revolution, on`Abdu’l-Bahá’s vision of human solidarity and peace in the 20th Century, on Bábism, Qajar history, Shi’ih performance traditions in Iran, the history of technology, visual theory, and the role of social media in the 2009-2010 Iranian election protests.
Mottahedeh received her Ph.D in 1998 from the University of Minnesota. She has taught at the Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio and in 2002 began teaching at Duke University, where she is Associate Professor in the Program in Literature and in the Women’s Studies Program. She divides her time between Durham, NC and New York City and teaches MA students in Media Studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn every spring semester. Her most recent book ‘Abdu’l- Baha’s Journey West: The Course of Human Solidarity, about the impact of the early 20th century Iranian visionary on the emergent civil rights and suffrage movements in America and on his vision for a lasting peace only three years before the outbreak of WWI, was published in 2013.


Phil Bennett is the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University and director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. Bennett was the managing editor of The Washington Post between 2005-2009, and has been an editor of international and national security coverage, a local news reporter and a foreign correspondent. He was the foreign editor of The Post for six years in which the paper’s international staff won many awards, including two Pulitzer prizes. Between 2011-13, while on the Duke faculty, he was the managing editor of PBS’ FRONTLINE.

Bennett has covered wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, the U.S. invasion of Panama, and wrote about Mexico, Cuba and Brazil. He has worked on new media projects for The Washington Post Co. and has lectured on the future of journalism. Bennett joined the Duke University faculty in 2009; he teaches about journalism and national security secrecy, the news media and Islam, narrative journalism and coverage of the economic crisis.

Cosponsored by DISC, the AMI Screen/Society and the DHRC@FHI.



March 17, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Griffith Theater
Duke Bryan Center + Google Map