Offside and Offscreen: Women of Iran

Still from Jafar Panahi's 2006 film Offside .

NEW YORK, February 26, 2011 — At a screening of Offside (2006), part of the film series A Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi at Asia Society New York, Negar Mottahedeh, Associate Professor of Literature and Women's Studies of Duke University, gave an introduction to the film, which depicts several young Iranian women's failed attempt to enter a soccer stadium.

Defying the Iranian law that prohibits women from attending sporting events, these women disguise themselves as men to gain entry. Speaking about the restrictions filmmakers face in depicting women, who are required to be veiled in the name of modesty, Mottahedeh drew parallels between women in the film being placed offside (the stadium) and women being placed offscreen (on film). As she emphasized, "Offside takes on a rather minor social problem but ends up unraveling a much greater, haunting story of Iranian society."

Video: Negar Mottahedeh on Jafar Panahi's 2006 film Offside (5 min., 3 sec.)

Watch a trailer for Offside here.

Asia Society's Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi series was part of Creative Voices of Islam in Asia, a three-year initiative made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.