Offside (Panahi, 2006)

A rousing, entertaining, funny, and ultimately joyous film from the great Iranian director Jafar Panahi. Offisde, shot in and around the actual 2006 World Cup Qualifying soccer match between Iran and Bahrain, follows the devout attempts made by women soccer fans to enter the all-male sporting event and their subsequent incarceration by the police. The film’s as much about the love of sports as it is about gender oppression and equal rights. As with all of his earlier masterpieces, Panahi humanizes every character no matter their role or significance, from the variety of girls being held prisoner to the guards sympathizing with their plight, a skill few modern day autuers can claim. The last twenty minutes are pure bliss for any sports fan, no matter the gender, race, or creed.