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The Independent Critic

Iranian students, bloggers and protesters
Ali Samadi Ahadi
80 Mins.

 "The Green Wave" Review 
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It seems as if nearly every film festival has at least one documentary that is completely and utterly mind-blowing in its impact. For the 2011 Indy Film Fest, The Green Wave is the documentary.

Directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi, The Green Wave is a searing documentary that integrates animation and live-action footage, testimonials and blog posts from extraordinarily courageous Iranian bloggers who dared to tell the world about their united effort of rebellion and its devastating consequences. A vivid and unforgettable portrait of political rebellion in the 21st century, The Green Wave exposes government-sanctioned violence while never losing sight of the vision of peace and hope contained within the remarkably brave actions of Iran's bloggers, activists and rebels. A finalist for Indy Film Fest's "Culturally Adventurous Award," it would be yet another injustice if any film other than The Green Wave were to take home the festival's Best Documentary Feature award.

From The Green Wave's website - "Green is the color of hope. Green is the color of Islam." The website further points out that green was the color of recognition for supporters of Mir-Hossein Moussavi, who became the symbolic figure in last year's Green Revolution in Iran. It was believed in Iran that the 2009 presidential elections would bring about sweeping change, yet the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was swept back into office by election results that were widely suspected to be rigged or simply outright falsified. The Green Wave tells the story of those who dared to dissent in a nation that isn't exactly known for its tolerance of differing options, and it honors the memory of those who died for their steadfast rebellion. The protests led to countless numbers of arrests, beatings, stabbings, killings and, many times, simply the disappearance of those who dared go public with their opposition to Ahmadinejad and the current Iranian leadership.

The Green Wave may very well be one of the first, and certainly one of the most effective, feature docs to center itself so essentially around social media. In the last couple years, the world has seen more and more examples (Egypt, anyone?) of the power of social media in creating social change. Director Ali Samadi Ahadi incorporates Facebook posts, Twitter messages, blog entries and more in examining the thoughts and feelings behind the Green Revolution. While focusing largely around two specific stories, The Green Wave unquestionably represents the hopes and dreams of countless Iranians who spoke out, wrote out and lived out their hopes and dreams for a better life and a more representative government.

It is difficult to express in words just how powerful and beautifully realized The Green Wave really is, but it may very well present the finest blending of animation with live-action that the big screen has seen created. Ali Reza Darvish's drawings are astounding and emotionally resonant, while the director works with D.P. Peter Jeschke to create unforgettable images and camera work that stays with you just as a documentary should. Art Director Ali Soozandeh's colors lend the film both its starkness and its hopefulness, somehow utilizing shades of green to create different feelings at different times. Ali N. Askin's music complements the entire project to perfection.

The Green Wave is staying with me, its ideas and images and words having imprinted themselves on my psyche' as I reflect upon the lives of so many who suffered and even died merely for shouting aloud their hopes and dreams. Destined to be one of the top docs of 2011, The Green Wave may very well be the best film of the 2011 Indy Film Fest. The film shows again on Wednesday, July 20th @ 5:45 pm at Indianapolis Museum of Art. You'd be insane to miss it.

For more information on Indy Film Fest, visit the festival's website. For more information on The Green Wave, visit the film's website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic