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When will the film ‘Rosewater’ be screened in Wilmington?

Ben Steelman
StarNews
Gael Garcia Bernal (left), star of 'Rosewater,'  poses with writer-director and producer Jon Stewart at the premiere of their film. AP photo

Gael Garcia Bernal (left), star of ‘Rosewater,’ poses with writer-director and producer Jon Stewart at the premiere of their film. AP photo

That’s hard to say. “Rosewater,” written and directed by “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, was officially released on Nov. 14. However, the distributor, Open Road Films, has been “rolling it out slowly,” in the words of Mary Bradley of WHQR, who heads up the Cinematique film series at Thalian Hall.

As of Nov. 23, the dark drama was screening in just 371 North American theaters, mostly in larger cities. (By contrast, “The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part I” was showing in 4,151 theaters on the same weekend, according to the website Box Office Mojo.)

Given the difficult subject matter — the true story of a Canadian-Iranian journalist who was arrested and tortured by the Iranian government — and the lack of an “A” list star, it seems that Open Road is using news coverage such as Stewart’s recent appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” and his Nov. 23 cover interview in “Parade” to build interest in “Rosewater” before expanding into smaller markets.

Since the movie business is about to go into holiday blockbuster mode, however, it’s likely that theater chains will delay screening “Rosewater” until early January, when small, independent Oscar contenders typically receive their wide screenings.

Bradley, with Cinematique, said her series is actively trying to book “Rosewater,” but has not been able to confirm a date yet. (Cinematique will be screening “The Theory of Everything,” the acclaimed new screen biography of physicist Stephen Hawking, on Jan. 5-7.)

“Rosewater” marks Stewart’s debut as a director, although he does not appear in the film. He adapted the script from “Then They Came for Me,” a memoir by the journalist Maziar Bahari. The title comes from the fact that Bahari was kept blindfolded for much of his captivity. He could only identify his chief interrogator because the man smelled of rosewater.

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Linda Kaplan

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