Offside - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Offside Reviews

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March 8, 2017
Con una grande abilità nel mantenere sullo stesso piano tutti i personaggi, questo film iraniano riesce a comunicare il messaggio con grande trasparenza e realismo. Anche se avrei preferito dei mezzi più intelligenti e meno diretti, l'anima che sta alla base del film è totalmente apprezzabile.
January 4, 2017
Director Jafar Panahi walks the line between fact and fiction with such skill that it is difficult to tell where fact ends and fiction begins. With Offside, he has made a film that is both a disparaging critique of the ban that prevents Iranian women from attending men's sporting events and therefore participating actively in national pride and a celebration of the women who dare to attend anyways. With parts of the film shot during an actual World Cup qualifying match, Offside feels like a documentary, even as the action that unfolds has to have been staged. You feel every moment with the women who have been caught sneaking into the game as they desperately try to catch glimpses of the match. It is amazing to watch their pride for their country, and their determination to show their nationalism, even as their country tries to prevent their participation.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2016
not a comedy! slow burner. thought provoking and somewhat endearing. a touching ending.
March 7, 2016
This iranian movie is one of the most entertaining film on football worldcup!!
August 10, 2014
educational watch- didn't realise that iranian women aren't allowed in stadiums to watch sports events.
though this ban certainly wouldn't affect me if i was staying in tehran(!), it certainly is a WTF ban.

mind boggling how draconian laws and ways are still around this day and age.
July 14, 2014
I am going to pass on this for now.
½ December 14, 2013
This is a very small film. It takes place over a few hours during an Iran vs Bahrain soccer game. The story covers several women soccer fans who try to sneak into a men's only World Cup qualifying match. . I decided to see it because it had been very highly rated.

But, the movie is over-rated. I suspect the high ratings came because of the nature of the topic. It is controversial in Arab/Persian/Islamic countries for women to participate freely in society as men can. The pc police were at work here.

It was very modestly interesting/entertaining.

You should pass on this one.
½ November 26, 2013
In 1979, The Iranian Revolution began. Iranian people were protesting
against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah "king" of the Iranian
monarchy. Iran became an Islamic Republic, and rules in cinema/art have
been changed to be more strict and suitable for the Iranian
conservative society. In Iran, the state had issued a law to prevent
filmmakers to make films, talking about politics, religions, and sexual
contact under any kind. Islamic law are not allowing filmmakers to add
anything in the film that considered against the sharia Islamic law.
Women in Iranian films cannot contact physically with men, all women
must wear a hi-jab, and filmmakers can not use western music. These
laws and the conditions made ??a lot of filmmakers in Iran express
their content in a smart way, trying to avoid punishment from the
Iranian government. However, some artists and directors were crossing
the red lines and facing a hard time and many problems with the Iranian
regime, such as Jafar Panahi.

Through his film Offside, in 2006 Iranian director Jafar Panahi, makes
one of best films ever made in Iran. The film about a long journey of
young Iranian girls trying to enter one of the greater soccer matches
of the national team of Iran. All the soccer matches inside Iran
prevent women to be with the audience at the stadium. Only men can
attend. During the significant soccer match between Iran and Bahrain,
part of the World Cup tournaments, Panahi decides to film the girls who
are trying to attend the stadium and support their national team. By
using a small camera in order not to draw attention from the
authorities. It is a hard to believe how Panahi have a plan to do the
scenario in his film, but he did it in magnificent way. He wants us to
send a message to all the over the world that tells us how women are
suffering in his country. The message in his film is simply explaining
what Iranian people go through with strict regime, and this film is not
just about women rights, it is about achieving justice among society in
Iranian. Not like other filmmakers, Panahi is one of few filmmakers
inside Iran that are dis-likable from the Iranian government. Panahi
with few others always show the true and the reality of the city of
Tahhran through cinema. This film, brings a lot of attention from the
international media about the difficulty that people in Iran face
everyday from the Iranian regime. The strict Islamic laws as we can
read in this film shows the lots lack of freedoms, absence of women
rights, and most importantly no justice and gender inequality for the
Iranian people. From this film, we find that Panahi is very intelligent
in the way he criticizes the system in his country. In his camera we
see a group of girls dealing with an injustice rules that allowed only
men to watch a game. Via his movie, Panahi transfers the real image of
what is really happening to the Iranian women. This film successfully
gives me a lot of ideas about Iranians feelings, emotions, reactions,
and with more than a hundreds of TV broadcasts and documentaries that
have been made about Iran. An interview with Panahi, states "Many
things in Iran always have certain problems. For each film that we make
we have to think of creative ways of doing it. "if you can't get
through the door then climb up through the window. So this is what we
have to do to find a way of achieving our aims. For each film this
method can only be used once, and for the next one obviously we have to
find an alternative way of doing it"(open democracy).

The film was admired by filmmakers around the world. Offside won a lot
of awards in many film festivals, including the Golden Bear at the
Berlin Film Festival. Film critics and journalists describe the film as
one of the most important film in the history of Iranian cinema after
the Islamic revolution. This film inspires many young filmmakers inside
Iran to make films with high levels of bravery. Offside has great deal
of impacts of the Middle East filmmaking. A few years after this movie
released the Iranian regime put the director Jafar Panahi in jail for 5
years, and prevented him from making films for 25 years. During his
period of stay in prison, Panahi made a film short called "This is not
a film" through his Iphone, and was smuggled through inside a cake, a
friend of his send the film to many film festivals around the world,
including Cannes Film Festival.
November 15, 2013
Like 'The Circle', Offside is about sex discrimination in Iran. But golly! This is a different beast altogether from Jafar Panahi's earlier film. After the Islamic revolution football matches were one of the things barred to women. It became common for young women to disguise themselves as boys to watch games. Apparently the inspiration of the film was an incident when Panahi's daughter was refused entry to a football match (she snuck in anyway).
Offside is set against the 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain in Azadi Stadium in Tehran. As the crowds enter the stadium we become aware that singly, young girls disguised as boys are attempting to slip pass guards on the look-out for such deviant behaviour. One by one, girls who are caught are placed in a holding area outside the stadium where they can hear, but not see the game. One of the young conscript soldier guarding the girls provides a commentary for them and a lively discussion about football and women's position in society follows - a lovely, gently mocking film, which nonetheless again questioned contemporary Iranian society. All set against the on-going match, of which Panahi used real footage.
For the soldiers the girls are a bit of a nightmare: their faces are painted in the Iranian colours (apart from the girl who manages to see the first half disguised as a soldier), they smoke, they argue, and they know absolutely loads about football. But as the two groups get to know each other the girls are awarded some respect. Just as well, the only young lad on the bus taking the delinquents back into town is rude to the girls and one of them drops the nut on his face. There is a happy ending too, as the soldiers, the girls, and the country celebrate victory.
After the film was made a group called the White Scarf Girls who protest at football matches in Iran (they are mentioned in the movie) began carrying banners saying "We don't want to be Offside". After many brushes with the Iranian authorities Panahi was arrested and imprisoned in March 2010. In December 2010 he was convicted for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic," and sentenced to six years imprisonment and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media. He was not allowed to leave Iran except for the Hajj or medical treatment
Subsequently he has spent the time under house arrest, and despite the election of the 'relatively' liberal President Hassan Rouhani, there he remains still under the 20-year filmmaking ban, still not allowed to travel. But since the election several Iranian cultural figures have been released from detention and Iran's guild for filmmakers, the House of Cinema, has been re-opened - we should try to be optimistic.
'Offside' has glorious moments of farce. The nice young soldier who has to escort one of the girls to the gents' (there are obviously no ladies') makes her cover her face with a poster of an Iranian football star so that it is not obvious that she's a girl - she walks along with this male face-mask tied to her head. He first makes sure all men have gone; this is not that difficult because the match is on, but a few have to be hurried and an indignant couple of young men have to prevented from entering. By now she is hopping up and down: he instructs her to put her hand over her eyes before going in. From behind her male poster masks she wails in bafflement, "Why should I do that?" "So you can't read." "Read what?" "The walls" he announces. Let's hope that Hassan Rouhani doesn't follow the soldier's instruction.
April 15, 2013
Wonderfull way of showing how irational and stupid is to prohibit to a society on livivng a normal life and how little things can bring us together...
½ February 26, 2013
Independiente del exceso de ''realidad'' que tiene esta película (relato sobre mujeres hinchas a morir del fútbol que por cuestiones religiosas no pueden asistir al estadio y que entonces deciden disfrazarse de hombres para colarse y disfrutar del último partido de la selección Iraní en la eliminatoria mundialista) Es una película graciosa, llena de vida y sin dramatismos de ningún orden; un argumento bien pensado tomando como combustible la situación real de este país, un relato que vale la pena apreciar porque resulta bastante entretenido de principio a fin, sin importar las circunstancias.
**Libertad a Panahi!!**
½ January 17, 2013
Remarkable mainly in that it was permitted. The director has since been jailed for daring to challenge the government. As a film, it clearly addresses issues that are close to the hearts of Iranians. For us, as non-football fans and complete outsiders to the Tehran culture, it was frankly a bit boring. The film has been sitting in my 'low priority' pile for a couple of year. Eleanor was unimpressed.
December 7, 2012
Would like to see at some stage.
November 25, 2012
Witty, perceptive, with a social statement to boot.
October 24, 2012
Anything for Your Passion

I'm not sure why women aren't allowed at Iranian sporting events. The women in today's story are told that it's the swearing, but since they're in a pen next to a stadium gate, that's about all of the game they are exposed to. Another claim in the movie is that it's unseemly for the women to sit next to men, but of course the solution to that isn't keeping them out; it's segregating them, the way they're segregated in Iranian colleges. I've read a theory that it's because the men play in shorts. The women aren't supposed to see that much bare skin on a man who isn't their husband. Of course, men are watching the match on television in the public streets, but women are on the honour system, I guess, and aren't supposed to look at the televisions. I know sports are generally considered to be a man's field of interest, but that's not entirely true. And as one of the women points out, the women have their own matches as well.

In 2006, Iran and Bahrain played a football match against one another to qualify for the World Cup. This was obviously a great big deal for Iranians; it was the third time they qualified, the second since revolution. Our story begins in a taxi, where a father is searching passing buses for his daughter, who he believes is sneaking into the game dressed as a boy. The girl whose story we then shift to (I believe Sima Mobarak-Shahi, but few if any of the characters have names) manages to buy a ticket to the game, but she is detected as she enters. She is escorted to a small pen near one of the entrances to the stadium--though just far enough away that there is no view of the game. Any women detected are brought there, their names taken, to be arrested. Most impressive is the young woman (Mahnaz Zabihi) who disguised herself as a soldier. The other women crowd around her to admire her costume. A young man is arrested for smuggling in fireworks, and then they are all hauled off to the station.

They claim that the limitations on women in Iran are intended to protect them, but I don't think most women want to be protected in that way. "Smoking Girl" (Shayesteh Irani) points out that she is perfectly capable of dressing like a lady when the occasion arises, and we also see that she is capable of taking care of herself. (She is also the sexiest, in a boyish way.) Another of the girls seems to be an extremely skilled football player herself. All of them want to see their country qualify for the World Cup. It's a love of sport and a love of their country, and while I suppose it can be argued that women shouldn't have the first (though I wouldn't believe it), surely they want all those women to love their country. The women also point out that Japanese women had been allowed into the stadium when Iran played Japan, and there were apparently Bahraini women watching the match from an isolated glass room, which these women would cheerfully do.

Of course, no one responsible for the decision to keep these women out of the stadium has anything to do with the actual work of keeping them out of the stadium. They are left in the hands of young men who would themselves rather be watching the game. Or, in the case of one of the men (Safdar Samandar), home in Tabriz, herding his cattle. The women are not persuaded by any of the arguments as to why they're not allowed to watch the game; the argument that it is to protect them from violence doesn't hold much water to them, either, even though one had a friend killed the year before during that match against Japan. After all, the idea that they will be in special danger because they are women doesn't hold much weight if men have been killed. Certainly those soldiers would probably be more effective if routed to crowd control instead of shepherding a handful of women. They're just doing their job, and no one wants to know their opinion on the subject.

As it happens, I lived in a host city for the 1994 World Cup. Unlike quite a lot of the rest of the United States, I even lived in an area with more than a few fans. There are certainly a lot of baseball diamonds and basketball courts in the parks of Los Angeles, but a Sunday's drive through Los Angeles will also take you past innumerable soccer matches, and that was true before the Soccer Mom became a national trope. Today, South America produces a large percentage of World Cup-qualifying teams every four years, and there is a large population of South American immigrants in LA. So. I know better, I think, than quite a lot of Americans how important this game would have been to these women, if they were serious fans. The World Series doesn't really compare, except on those rare occasions when a Canadian team gets it. If it isn't one American team, it's probably another. But to countries where they call the game football, the World Cup is extremely important. This was about national pride, and the idea that maybe half the country shouldn't be blocked from it is probably why this film is banned in Iran as much as the drag.
½ August 27, 2012
just didn't do anything for me just very slow!
½ July 10, 2012
Surprisingly heartwarming and uplifting, the film paints a very real sense of time and place, and emphasises the sense of belonging that comes with simply deciding to be a part of something, regardless of societal constraints.
June 6, 2012
more than anything, i was surprised to find that this film made me feel extremely nostalgic - which is an odd emotion to feel, given that it deals with the inequality of women in iran. but somehow the whole air of camaraderie that's a strong part of iranian culture was depicted so exactly in this film. i also liked the fact that panahi understood the complexity of human character and didn't make the film a black and white fight between good and bad - even the officers who captured the girls were humanized as just following orders. i understand panahi's choice to use soccer as the means through which opposing sides put aside their differences and come together - and i know actual girls who would dress up like boys to get into the stadium - but i still couldn't identify with those girls in any way (except one - but i don't want to spoil the film) especially when the consequences of getting caught are so severe. the film had some funny moments and some endearing characters and in the end managed to get an emotional rise out of me - but i still wonder if that's because of the film's mastery or because a part of me misses iran. i'd also be really interested to find out how panahi managed to film this - the sets/background are extremely difficult to replicate - did he actually shoot the film on the day of the game?
½ June 3, 2012
Filmed in the stadium during the actual game, this is a great story -- the acting could be better, but just for the bizarre but nevertheless strangely cheerful setting, this one is worth watching.
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