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The Green Wave cover photo

The Green Wave 2010

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Jan Krueger and Oliver Stoltz
Directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi
DVD, color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Iran, Human Rights, Arab Spring, Political Reform Movements

Date Entered: 01/05/2012

Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library, American University

The Green Wave is the term used to describe the widespread exhilaration in Iran in support of the presidential campaign of reform candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in the spring 2009 election. The traditional Islamic color green symbolized his campaign.

This film captures the sense of euphoria that campaign engendered and documents the corruption and human rights abuses that followed as soon as the officials started counting the ballots and weren’t happy with what they saw. Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner and Mousavi was arrested. Immediately people took to the streets to protest and violence ensued. Dozens of individuals were killed, hundreds injured, and thousands jailed.

The film incorporates tweets, blog entries, interviews, cellphone video, and exquisite use of animation to document the story. The mix of these sources has a powerful impact. The filmmaker focusses on the stories of a few individuals and their accounts illuminate a tragedy that has been mostly overlooked in Western media.

This is a highly recommended film and an essential source for understanding contemporary Iran and the systematic suppression of dissent that fomented the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East beginning in late 2010.

A minor technical shortcoming is that the subtitling used is very difficult to read against light-colored backgrounds – though much of the audio is in English so this doesn’t cause a serious disruption.