Offside | Chicago Reader

Offside

This 2006 feature from Iranian master Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Crimson Gold) is in many ways his most entertaining and accessible—a comedy about a group of girls in Tehran who get busted when they pose as boys in an effort to watch a World Cup qualifying soccer match between Iran and Bahrain. To some extent it's a happier and less arty version of The Circle (2000), which also deals with female oppression and concludes inside a police van, but here Panahi treats the guards who must enforce the law, as well as the girls, as comic victims. The director shoots largely on location—parts were filmed at Azadi Stadium during an actual match—and mixes fiction and documentary so deftly we can't tell which is which. In Farsi with subtitles.

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