Offside | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The fifth feature from Iranian master Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Crimson Gold) is in many ways his most entertaining and accessible--a comedy about a group of girls in Tehran who get busted posing as boys so they can watch a World Cup qualifying soccer match between Iran and Bahrain. To some extent it's a happier and less arty version of The Circle, which also deals with female oppression and concludes inside a police van, but here Panahi treats the guards who must enforce the law, as well as the girls, as comic victims. The director shoots largely on location--parts were filmed at Azadi Stadium during an actual match--and mixes fiction and documentary so deftly we can't tell which is which. In Farsi with subtitles. PG, 93 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. a Music Box.

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