Football, Iranian Style
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Football, Iranian Style
IDFA 2007

Football, Iranian Style

Football, be sabk-eh Irani
Maziar Bahari
50 min
Festival history
100,000 Soccer fans jump up and down with extraordinary enthusiasm in a sold-out stadium. The ones dressed in blue are rooting for Esteghlal, the ones in red for Persepolis - those being the two most popular teams in Iran. All 100,000 fans are men, as women are not allowed inside the stadium. Still, Maziar Bahari also portrays women in his documentary about Iranian soccer fans - a girl who anxiously visits a public practice soccer field to meet her hero and a young woman who hides her ball on the roof of her house as she cannot play in the street. Bahari shoots long scenes with extended shots, so we can silently observe the conversations among fans as well as those between the fans and the players. He depicts a wide cross-section of Iranian society, from imams and infatuated teenage girls to Iranian immigrants in Germany, who get away with expressing their patriotism because of an Iranian player on the Berlin team. Back in Iran, an ex-soldier hopes Iran will "continue the battle" in the match against former enemy Iraq. We also witness the exceptional outburst of joy and national pride in 1997, when Iran qualified for the World Soccer Championships in France. This event occurred a few months after the election of the reformist Prime Minister Khatami, when a different wind seemed to be blowing. Meanwhile, however, the political climate has turned much harsher once again.
Screening copy
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