June 12, 2009, is a day Iranians will remember as one when their hearts sank and rose simultaneously. The news that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had supposedly beat progressive presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in a landslide was unbelievably disheartening -- so unbelievable, in fact, that the populace took collective heart in its absurdity. A public outcry swiftly snaked its way across the country in the first showing of resistance by Iranians since the revolution 30 years prior.
Three years later, we've seen the Arab Spring come and go with varying degrees of success, while the Iranians' efforts have long since dulled under the weight of government oppression. A new documentary, however, reminds us of how close victory felt during that Green summer, and how profoundly upsetting it was when the regime tortured, beat, killed and crushed any hope of it.
Like the Green revolution itself, which pioneered the use of Twitter, Facebook and amateur video, Ali Samadi Ahadi's "The Green Wave" uses a blend of mediums, including pieced together Twitter feeds and blog entries, video, phone records, interviews and animation. One of the most praised aspects of the documentary has been its use of the latter, similar to the film about that other Iranian Revolution. Ahadi creatively dots the film with motion comics, drawn by Ali Reza Darvish, to fill in the human stories that could not be documented during the struggle.
"The Green Wave" opened in parts of Europe last year to warm reviews -- the Guardian praises the animations "played skillfully across interviews... as Ahadu [sic] pulls the curtain back on a government that was willing to imprison and torture its electorate," while the London Evening Standard called it "formidable," though "sad watching" when seen after the triumphs of the Arab Spring.
WATCH the trailer, and look below for a selection of animations from the film: