Friday, January 17, 2014

Offside

(Iran, 2006)


Mark is already crossed.


Iranian girls are forbidden to watch football matches in stadiums due to risk of verbal abuse and violence. Few Tehrani girls, therefore, conceal their identity in an attempt to attend the 2006 World Cup Qualifier match between Iran and the long rival Bahrain.  Dressed up in boys’ outfits, they couldn’t trespass tight security at the entrance unfortunately and are held for a day long imprisonment outside the stadium. The detainees  are a bunch of young Irani girls possessing distinct characteristics from each other. They like to outgo, play and watch football, smoke and if compelled, fight even with the boys. 


The film has overtly questioned state’s continuing persistence to preserve social taboos those limit women’s right and freedom. It raises the issue of gender inequality in Muslim societies, particularly in Iran through the voice of about a dozen girls not permitted to watch the football match. Girls represent modern sophisticated youth seeking freedom while the security personnels represent tyrant government. The dialogues between security personnels and those held young girls are satirical, and at the same time provoke serious attention on gender repression in Iran. 

Director Jafar Panahi’s sheer attempt is to unveil real Iranian females compelled inside the Burqas. His stance is the girls are no less backward than oppressor males. They are equally capable, educated, apt and freedom seeking as them. 

The film maintains authenticity by not constraining itself into the cinematic standards. Performances and photography are very raw and lively.  

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