February 21, 2008


I've been wanting to watch Offside for sometime now, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. It's an Iranian film about the Iran/Bahrain 2006 World Cup qualifying match and some girls who try to sneak into it. The movie shows little of the actual match, but the holding pen for the girls who get caught. It works well because it's about gender and restrictions, but not in a way that's bashing you over the head with the director's "message." In the end, there's no extensive discourse on gender or why Iranian soccer matches are the way they are, it's just massive celebration by the girls, the soldiers who are guarding them, and random people along the way. It's ridiculously effective in moving past blatant symbolism to effortlessly making round characters in a round world.

It's filmed pretty much in real time and Panahi, the director, used a lot of local non-actors, which adds to the authenticity of the film. For not being professional actors, they all did an excellent job. It reminds me a lot of Italian neo-realism, but not nearly as boring.

The gender-bending and quietly powerful subversiveness is enough for me to recommend this movie. While what's actual said in the film is thought-provoking in it's own right, what's left unsaid is just as interesting.

Anyway, it's funny and interesting, and I'm just waiting for the day when I can teach this. Highly, highly recommended.

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