REVIEW: The Green Wave

Menna Taher, Saturday 26 Nov 2011

Ali Samadi Ahadi's filmic meditation on the Green Revolution uprising in Iran is bleak and penetrating, and is a warning against the mixing of religion and politics

The Green Wave

Directed by the award-winning Iranian immigrant in Germany, Ali Samadi Ahadi, The Green Wave is a wrenching and sincere account of activists in Iran and their struggle. A surrealistic and deeply bleak air abounds the film. Animation and real life footage are merged together almost seamlessly, making the viewer forget sometimes what is real and what is drawn.

The colours of the animated sequences were carefully chosen in shades of green and purple, and help sustain the melancholic and somewhat quiet mood.

The film follows different activists during the 2009 and 2010 protests in Iran after the 2009 presidential elections activists deemed fraudulent. It follows the pro-Mousavi "Green" campaign that swept the country.

The relevance to the current situation in Egypt is undeniable, since parliamentary elections are just days away under a controlling regime headed by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

Filled with hope, voters stood in long queues with green armbands wrapped around their wrists, in order to vote for the regime opponent Mousavi. However, at the end of the day armed militias closed down all polling stations to take out the ballot boxes.

With the Muslim Brotherhood’s eyes on parliamentary seats, one cannot but be reminded of the outcomes of the deadly combination in Iran of religious fanaticism and armed militias.

Steering away from propaganda, the film concentrated on the lives of the activists and their daily encounters, which is one of its strong points. Some moments are very personal and include deep contemplations and inner struggles.

One of the activists left the country after her imprisonment, wondering if she took the right decision, while one of the armed militia men felt daily shame over what he was doing.

It is difficult to sympathise with the killer, despite his feelings of contempt towards what he was doing, but at least the film provides a perspective on what kept him going.

“If we stop now, we will all be put on trial,” he says, and describes how one leader convinced them that what they were doing was right because those they were killing were the enemies of god. They then started boasting about how many they had killed.

“I am ashamed to pray,” he says.

Yet all that seems irrelevant when one small child coming out the supermarket, unaware of what is happening, is brutally beaten to death.

Though such brutality should not be shocking to a viewer in Egypt, it is a reminder of killings that are currently happening in the country. Perhaps for a viewer in Egypt, one is saddened more by thinking of those getting killed by security forces here at this moment.

Interviewees included human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, international law professor Payam Akhavan, Shia cleric Mohsen Kadivar, election assistant to Mousavi, journalist and blogger Mehdi Mohseni and award-winning journalist Mitra Khalatabari.

Despite the diverse selection of people, one of the drawbacks of the film that it did not give a comprehensive overview of the political situation in Iran.

All in all, however, the film sheds light on a side of Iran that is not well, known, while many only associate Iran with women veiled from head to toe and alleged nuclear weapons while Israel possesses hundreds.


Thursday, 24 November, 10:30am - Cinema Galaxy, 67 Abd El-Aziz Al-Saud St., El-Manial

Sunday, 27 November, 10:30am - Stars Cinema: Omar Ibn El-Khattab, Nasr City

Monday, 28 November, 6:30pm - Stars Cinema: Omar Ibn El-Khattab St., Nasr City

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