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Fourteen countries purchase Panahi's "Offside"

TEHRAN, Mar. 4 (Mehr News Agency) -- The International Sales Company of Celluloid Dreams, which owns the world promotion and distribution rights to director Jafar Panahi's "Offside", has sold the film to fourteen countries.

"Offside", which recently won the Silver Bear award of the 56th International Berlin Film Festival, was sold to France, Spain, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Serbia-Montenegro, and Britain.

A U.S. company is also interested and may purchase the screening rights in the next few days.

"Offside" is about six Iranian girls who disguise themselves as boys in order to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch the 2006 World Cup Asian zone qualifier between Iran and Bahrain but who are arrested one by one.

Meanwhile, the distribution rights of "It's Winter" by Rafi Pitz, which was also an entry to the Berlinale, have been sold to Brazil and Britain.


Who is that strange-looking boy sitting in the corner of the bus in the midst of all the raucous football fans on the way to the stadium? If one were to look a little more closely, however, one can see that it is not a boy but a girl, dressed in boy's garb. She is by no means the only female football supporter in Iran; in fact, there are an increasing number of women who are enthusiastic about the game.

Before the kick off, she is apprehended at a checkpoint and led away to an enclosure next to the stadium. She is one of many to whom the same fate has befallen and, at the enclosure, she meets a whole group of women - all dressed as men. After the game, they will be handed over to the vice squad.

But before that they are forced to endure torture! They have to listen to every roar of the crowd inside the stadium without being able to see the action on the field. Worse still, they are obliged to tolerate the nonsensical comments of one of the guards who clearly hasn't the faintest idea about football. But the young women are determined not to give up. They'll use every trick they know in order to get to see the game after all.

In his previous films, Jafar Panahi has often highlighted the social dilemmas to which modern Iranian women can be subjected. His current work is a knowing comedy describing one such predicament, and the violation of women's rights that ensues.

... Payvand News - 3/5/06 ... --

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