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Offside (I) (2006)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Sport  |  26 May 2006 (Austria)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,266 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 45 user | 114 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

Struggle of Women in a country that excludes them from entering the stadiums.

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Title: Offside (2006)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sima Mobarak-Shahi ...
Shayesteh Irani ...
Smoking girl
Ayda Sadeqi ...
Soccer girl
Golnaz Farmani ...
Girl with tchador
Mahnaz Zabihi ...
Girl disguised as soldier
Nazanin Sediq-zadeh ...
Young girl
Melika Shafahi
Safdar Samandar ...
Soldier from Azerbaijan
Mohammad Kheir-abadi ...
Soldier from Mashad
Masoud Kheymeh-kabood ...
Soldier from Tehran
Mohammed-Reza Gharebaghi
Hadi Saeedi ...
Soldier
Masoud Gheyas-vand
Ali Baradari ...
Bus Passenger
Ali Roshan
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Storyline

"Offside" is about a group of Iranian girls who attempts to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium dressed as boys in order to watch a big football match but some get caught and arrested. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, women are not allowed to enter the stadiums. Written by Kaaveh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In Iran, All Women Are Banned From Men's Sporting Events

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language throughout, and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 May 2006 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Hors jeu  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,500 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,003 (USA) (23 March 2007)

Gross:

$179,948 (USA) (20 July 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film just like other films of director, Jafar Panahi is banned in Iran. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Ey Iran
Lyrics by Hossein Gol-e-Golab
Music by Ruhollah Khaleghi
Heard over the credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Microcosm of Life in Iran?
26 December 2006 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Filmed during an actual qualifying match for the 2006 World Cup, Offside works brilliantly as both a comedy and a tragedy. The film follows the fortunes of a group of young women who are caught trying to sneak into a football match at Tehran's Azadi Stadium. The country's Islamic religious leaders have decreed that women may not sit with men at sporting events, lest they be exposed to cursing and other morally questionable behaviour. This hasn't stopped the country's young female fans, who continue to sneak in using various tricks. But Panahi focuses on a small group who have been caught and are being detained agonizingly close to the action. They beg the bored soldiers guarding them to let them go or at least to let them watch the match. The soldiers tell them they shouldn't have tried to get in, that they could have watched the game at home on TV. They banter back and forth in almost real-time as the game continues, just off- camera.

There is one very funny sequence where a young soldier accompanies one of the girls to the restroom. Since there are no female restrooms at stadiums, he has to clear the room of any men before he can allow her to go in. Plus, he makes her cover her face so no one can see she's a woman. This is accomplished using a poster of Iranian soccer star Ali Daei as a mask, with eye holes punched out.

You get a real sense that even the soldiers are baffled by the prohibition, and are only carrying out their orders so as to hasten the end of their compulsory military service. One soldier complains that he was supposed to be on leave so he could take care of his family's cattle in the countryside. Little by little, the girls and the soldiers talk to each other, and there are numerous small acts of kindness on both sides to show that these are basically good people living in terrible circumstances. However, the soldiers' constant reminder that "the chief" is on his way lends a sense of menace, since we don't know what sort of punishment the women will face.

Unlike most Iranian films, which are known for their strong visuals, Offside is filmed in a realist style with no artifice. In fact, the film was made during the actual qualifying match against Bahrain that took place on June 5, 2005. The "plot" in many ways was determined by the result on the pitch. If Iran won the match, they would qualify. If they lost, they would not. Since the World Cup has come and gone, I don't think it is a spoiler to say that Iran won the match. The scenes of celebration at the end of the film were real and spontaneous, which gave the film a real authenticity. Seeing how much this meant to the people of Iran was deeply touching.

As well, one of the young women makes reference at the end of the film to seven fans who died during the Iran-Japan match on March 25, just a few weeks before. They were trampled to death after police began to spray the crowd with water to move them in a certain direction. Knowing that this was a real-life tragedy added another level of poignancy to the celebrations.

I don't want to go off on a long political tangent, but this film gave me real hope that there are those in Iran who are hoping for change and working at it. Iran is a nation of young people, and it is only a matter of time before they take the place of their elders in the political sphere. Films like this one show the proud spirit of the Iranian people in spite of their present difficulties, and it's my sincere hope that there is a brighter future for them.


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