My review of The Cup appears here: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000697408
Offside (2006, on DVD and streaming) is another unusual World Cup film, written and directed by Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker whose work I admire. It is about the excitement an important match inspires in Tehran, and is perhaps the only soccer movie about female fans. A group of young women disguised as boys, in the hope that they can deceive guards, attempt to gain entrance to the stadium. Iranian girls and women are forbidden to attend sports events, even if they are accompanied by male relatives. The women’s ruse is discovered and they are detained; young security guards, equally disappointed not to be inside watching the game, are told to keep them penned in an area outside the stadium where they can only hear the shouts of the crowd.
My review of Offside can be found here: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003555993
Offside is a clever indictment of Iran’s theocratic state, yet it is Panahi’s most optimistic film. Like so much of his work, including The Circle, the subject of my 2001 interview with him (see link in “From the Archives”), the movie is banned in his home country. Panahi, who is accused of creating “propaganda” against the state, is now prevented from making any movies in Iran, and from traveling outside the country. While it is a less severe sentence than other socially conscious artists have received in Iran, it is nevertheless unconscionable.
|The unnamed writer and his dog in Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain sit before a window that suggests Iran's darkened movie theaters. The movie will open at Film Forum on July 9th. (Photo, Courtesy of Amplify Films)|
The filmmaker has managed to defy the ban with This is Not A Film (2011), a documentary shot inside his Tehran apartment, and Closed Curtain (2013), a conflation of fiction and documentary, shot at his seaside home, which will open at Film Forum in New York City on July 9th. A link to my review of Closed Curtain appears under “Film Reviews (Online),” to the right of this column, and my review of This is Not A Film can be found here: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/esearch/e3id540457eab6376406a4d826262d6c725
The official trailer for Closed Curtain is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQyU7dpuLl4&feature=youtu.be