A politically complacent middle-aged man and a young pro-democracy activist debate about the future of their country while hiding from the police, in this fascinating drama that blends scripted scenes with on-the-ground footage from Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution.
Sepideh Farsi may have left Iran for France in 1980, but she has never left behind the country of her birth when choosing subject matter for her films. Red Rose, placed entirely in Iran during the Green Revolution of 2009, is a fascinating blend of drama interlaced with cellphone footage shot on the streets during the demonstrations. The dramatic sections of the film were shot entirely in one apartment; the rest consists of a mélange of vérité material captured by bystanders on the streets — citizens who witnessed the brutal police reaction to the protests. The film is a model of what you can do with extremely limited resources.
Startling, pertinent, intelligent, provocative and unsettling, the film begins the day after the presidential elections of June 2009, widely considered to have been rigged by the authorities. A group of young demonstrators, desperate to escape the truncheons of the police, seek temporary refuge and bang on the door of an apartment. Ali, a well-to-do middle-aged man, offers them water and safety. After the demonstrations leave, one of them, a young woman, returns to retrieve her cellphone. The conversations that follow, as a relationship between them slowly grows, are marked by generational differences and strife. Ali has fought all these battles himself, years ago, and has now withdrawn into his home, refusing to take part in what is going on outside. Sarah, on the other hand, is fully committed to change.
Red Rose, like so many of the best Iranian films, is built around conversations that conceal, reveal, and then confront. With cutting psychological insight, Farsi has made a little gem of a film, one that stands alongside her native country's finest cinema.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD SPEAKERS
Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an expert and advisor to governments and organizations on cybersecurity, cybercrime, freedom of expression, and access to information. He will speak about Red Rose in an extended Q&A session following the second screening of the film. Special thanks to the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.