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Offside Review

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A tale of prejudice and football. A group of Iranian girls are arrested after trying to sneak into a men-only football stadium to watch their national side. Release date is tied in to coincide with the kick off of the World Cup.

★★★★

One of the finest football films ever made — even though you don’t see a single ball being kicked. Yet Jafar Panahi’s sublime satire also provides a fascinating insight into juvenile attitudes to the Islamic constrictions imposed by the Iranian government. Following a clutch of disguised female fans who are corralled into a pen for trying to get into the men-only World Cup qualifier against Bahrain, the action subtly ridicules gender clichés while exploring town-and-country rivalries and the unifying power of sport.

The amateur ensemble is uniformly excellent, although Safdar Samandar stands out as the farmboy soldier whose recognition of the inequity of such institutionalised chauvinism coincides with an outpouring of national pride. Quite wonderful.

The amateur ensemble cast and superb satire make this one of the best football films going

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