Jafar Panahi's films are the Iranian films that even Chris Larry would like if he gave them half a chance. His last film, 2003's Crimson Gold, is the Iranian Taxi Driver. His latest film will definitely end up high on my year-end list.
It is about a number of young women who are determined to see Iran play Bahrain in a World Cup qualifying match. Unfortunately for them, Iran forbids women from attending sporting events. So the most determined women and teenagers decide to dress as boys and attempt to sneak in. The film was actually shot during the game and the ensuing celebration in the streets.
The majority of the film takes place in a temporary holding pen (right next to an entrance gate to a section of the stadium) for all the females caught trying to watch the game as the bored soldiers watching over them. There are attempted escapes, debates about Islamic law and soccer stats, pleading by the girls for some play by play updates from the young soldiers.
What seems like just an entertaining movie is also, of course, a sly indictment on the repressive Iranian government. But who cares about that serious stuff when there are great moments of slapstick like the one in which one of the teenagers tries to elude a soldier on a trip to the bathroom in an attempt to see more of the game?
Directed by Jafar Panahi
2006, Year of U.S. Release 2007