OFFSIDE

OFFSIDE

The life of women in Iran was already the oblique theme of acclaimed Iranian Director Jafar Panahi’s earlier film success The White Balloon and the direct theme of the much discussed, multiple award-winning drama The Circle.

OFFSIDE, Jafar Panahi’s Silver Bear Winner (shared with ‘En Soap’ by Pernille Fischer Christensen) at this year’s Berlin Film Festival depicts an incident during the 2005 World Cup qualification match between Iran and Bahrain at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran. A girl disguised as a boy tries to gain entry to the stadium where the match is due to kick off. But women are not allowed there. The girl is discovered. She is held for the duration of the match along with some street-smart female fans. They are detained in an area where they can only hear the match. As they argue with the naïve soldiers who are their reluctant gaolers, the absurdity of the law is gradually revealed.

OFFSIDE is a hilarious, comic and hugely entertaining film, cleverly illustrating the fight for women’s rights in Iran. The director chose to use a non-professional cast to illustrate a real event, arguing that professional actors would have introduced a notion of falseness. As the stakes increase, the film veers away from tension by showing the sheer absurdity of the situation. It is probably Jafar Panahi’s most accessible and spontaneous picture to date.

OFFSIDE highlights Iran’s strict segregation policies but deftly reveals the rebellion amongst young women, unwilling to bow to the strictures. OFFSIDE has not yet been cleared for release in Iran.

“Eight years ago Iran beat Australia and qualified for the World Cup. When the players returned triumphant, women were granted the right to celebrate the players’ return. 5,000 women turned up and went inside the stadium and this spurred a lot of debate as to why women are forbidden from entering in the first place. Four years ago, I was living near the stadium where our football team trains. Our daughter wanted to go with me to the match. We set out as an entire family so if my daughter was refused entry, my wife could take her home. As I expected she was refused entry and I told her to go home. However, she found another way of getting into the stalls and to my surprise, she joined me. This inspired my thoughts about the film. When I realized Iran once again had a chance at being selected for the World Cup, I decided the time was right to do this film.

“My films have not yet been released in Iran. I have no other choice but to remain optimistic. I think that if the film is shown, it will re-ignite discussions about letting women into the stadiums.

” With the World Cup approaching, the timing is fabulous. Perhaps that’s just a dream, but I continue to hope….” Jafar Panahi

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Week Commencing 9th June

Curzon Soho
Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1
020 7439 4805
all week

Renoir
Brunswick Square
London WC1
020 7837 8402
all week

Irish Film Institute
6 Eustace Street,
Temple Bar
Dublin 2
01 6795744
all week

Rio
107 Kingsland High Str.
London E8
020 7241 9410
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Cornerhouse
70 Oxford Street
Manchester
0161 200 1500
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Showroom
7 Paternoster Row
Sheffield
0114 2757727
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Week Commencing 16th June

Curzon Soho
Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1
020 7439 4805
all week

Renoir
Brunswick Square
London WC1
020 7837 8402
all week

Irish Film Institute

6 Eustace Street,
Temple Bar
Dublin 2
01 6795744
all week

Rio
107 Kingsland High Str.
London E8
020 7241 9410
all week

Cornerhouse
70 Oxford Street
Manchester
0161 200 1500
all week

Showroom
7 Paternoster Row
Sheffield
0114 2757727
all week

—————————————-
Week Commencing 23rd June

Renoir
Brunswick Square
London WC1
020 7837 8402
all week

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Week Commencing 30th June

Renoir
Brunswick Square
London WC1
020 7837 8402
all week

Exeter Picture House
51 Bartholomew Street
West Exeter
01392 435 522
all week

Phoenix Picture House
57 Walton Street
Oxford
01865 512 526
all week

Watershed
1 Canon’s Road,
Harbour Side
Bristol
0117 927 5100
all week

Region: All
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