Screening on Film
Directed by Jafar Panahi.
With Sima Mobarak-Shahi, Shayesteh Irani, Ayda Sadeqi.
Iran, 2006, 35mm, color, 93 min.
Persian with English subtitles.

In his last film before his sentence, Panahi returns to an examination of the constraints on women in Iran. However, here the darkness of The Circle gives way to the sense of enthusiastic determination that characterized the young protagonists of Panahi’s first two films. Like those girls, the adolescent women at the center of Offside have a simple goal: to attend a World Cup qualifying match by Iran’s national soccer team, although their gender makes their presence in the stadium officially forbidden. Panahi succeeds in brilliantly balancing critique, humor and utopian hope in his depiction of the interactions between these women and the youthful soldiers in charge of enforcing the law. Offside also serves as a respectful updating of and loving homage to Kiarostami’s first feature film, The Traveler (1974).

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