Cinema | Iranian women, in Panahi’s film, move beyond a boundary

I’ve been invited to film festivals all over the world. The red carpet’s been rolled out for me. I’ve been given awards by very prominent filmmakers. But the thing that has caused me the most pain and bothered me most deeply is that in my own country I have been treated quite differently. My film The Circle has not yet been released in my own country. I have fought to have it shown here, but the new officials in cinema have said that my film should be burned. All these difficulties sometimes make me feel that I will never be able to make another film again, even though the next day I might have a different attitude. I don’t know. It’s difficult here, to make something that comes from the heart. Maybe these three films that I’ve made will be the only ones that I ever make. If I’m ever forced to lie to myself, I will just leave it at that.

Other sources

Naturally, women’s attempts to gain access to football form but part of a dynamic women’s movement within Iran. Numerous women have suffered imprisonment and torture due to activism on issues of inheritance and child custody and related to their protests against stoning. See a recent report on National Public Radio, “Iranian Women Activists Gain Momentum” (Mar 17). Activists have created a website, Zanan-e Iran (Women in Iran), in Farsi, dedicated to their initiatives.


On grounds that it “endangered the spiritual, mental and intellectual health of its readers,” authorities on 28 Jan 08 shut down 17-year-old magazine Zanan (Women). The action demonstrates, according to Wendy Kristianasen in Le Monde diplomatique, that “women’s rights activists in Iran face growing repression” (“Stop the Presses,” Apr 08). As background, Kristianasen summarized conditions for women in the Islamic republic:

Zanan addressed rights that people outside Iran take for granted. In Iran, women still face widespread discrimination under the law and are excluded from areas of public life; they cannot be full judges in a criminal or revolutionary court or stand for the presidency. They do not have equal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody or inheritance. The legal age for marriage is 13 but fathers can apply for permission to marry their daughters younger, and to much older men. Criminal harm suffered by a woman is less severely punished. Evidence given by women in court is worth half that of men.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. The Fisherman’s Friend »:

    [...] was with interest then that I read Rank and Vile’s current posting, and their link to The Global Game. (Funnily, for those who have read my very first post, this blog has a story on football and [...]

  2. Oz Kanka:

    A few years ago Australia had to play in Tehran in a playoff for a World Cup spot. The Sydney Morning Herald sent a woman to cover the match who was obviously not going to be allowed into the stadium so she put on a fake mustache and dressed as a man. She got in and the paper reported the crowd figures as 119,999 men, 1 women.

  3. Offside « Forever Under Construction:

    [...] Interview with Jafar Panahi, Open Democracy More about Panahi’s movies, Vertigo Magazine Offside trap, the Global Game The women in Offside, Washington City Paper Offside, the IFC [...]

  4. The Global Game | Left Wing (Crossing soccer with life) » No quest for ‘Victory’ | List of top-5 films consistent in not seeking soccer on the Sly:

    [...] the film had to be more than incidental. The list: 1. Offside (Iran, 2006), dir. Jafar Panahi. See Mar 28. 2. Phörpa (The Cup; Bhutan, 1999), dir. Khyentse Norbu. See 29 Jan 05. 3. Historias de fútbol [...]

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