Offside

Caught this delightful piece of Iranian film on disc and wasn't disappointed at all and was once more amazed at the simplicity of film making of some of the film makers we hardly hear or know about.

Directed and written by Jafar Panahi whose two films Dayereh and Talaye Sorkh were forbidden by the Islamic government of Iran. This time Jafar brings to you the comic tale of a group of young women who are football (soccer) fanatics and unfortunately for them the Islamic government has forbidden women from all sporting events. These young group of women dress up as men and try sneaking into the stadium and get caught, to be guarded by a young group of guards. They are keen to get a few glimpses of the Iran-Bahrain World cup qualifier and would do anything to get out of the guards eyes and mix with the crowd.

The story is simple and the director treats the movie as if he is a news crew covering an event and that's what makes this movie a delightful watch. The cast is brilliant in being absolutely natural. There are quite a few hilarious scenes that are accentuated by just the expressions of the actors.The young guards guarding the women are amused on one hand and are restless to get on with work and share their tales with the prisoners There is this sequence where one of the girls asks to visit the toilet and a young guard is sent to escort her to the men's toilet (no women's toilets in the stadium you see) and she escapes, only to come back out of guilt and when asked why, she replies, she felt sorry for the lead guards' cattle ! The dialogue delivery, dialogues are so classy in being so natural that you just cannot help but grin at what transpires on screen.

The amazing simplicity of the tale, the script and the treatment ensures this watch remains in mind for quite sometime for it a light hearted comedy, a comedy about a tragic situation. The whole movie is set in the 2 hours or so of the football match and in spite of the background being that of a football match the whole ambiance of the match is built up without once showing you the entire stadium or the match. This a must watch for people who love world cinema and quite a lesson for film makers on using budgets effectively !

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