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Article

Offside

Posted on

Offside

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
runtime:
92 minutes
Limited Release Date:
03/23/07
performer:
Sima Mobarak, Safar Samandar
director:
Jafar Panahi
distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
author:
Jafar Panahi, Shadmehr Rastin
genre:
Drama, Comedy

We gave it a B+

A brisk, boisterous Iranian dramedy, Offside takes place during a thrilling soccer game that almost no one gets to see. That’s because the film focuses on football-mad girls (barred from attending sporting events in Iran) who are corralled in a lonely corner of the stadium after they’re caught trying to sneak inside disguised as boys. Director Jafar Panahi (The Circle) coaxes spirited performances from his nonprofessional cast, including M. Kheyrabadi as an exasperated soldier guarding the girls, and Sima Mobarak Shahi as an irreverent teen who’s apprehended on her way into the Iran-Bahrain match. The disc’s sole extra — a fascinating interview with Panahi — reveals why the actress’ anxiety is so convincing: She really was stopped by a security guard while the crew, on the sly, filmed her trying to enter a World Cup qualifying match. Panahi, a famous provocateur, avoided government scrutiny during production by submitting a fake script and listing his assistant as the director. That he was able to make Offside at all is a triumph worthy of any soccer (or movie) fan. B+