Cinema | ‘Football Under Cover’ receives unveiling

Promotional material for the documentary Football Under Cover (see interview with director Ayat Najafi, 29 Sept 07) celebrates the display of “Frauenpower” in its chronicle of an Apr 06 friendly between BSV Al-Dersimspor of Kreuzberg, Berlin, and the Iranian women’s national team.

The movie premieres at the 2008 Berlinale on Feb 10. It releases to cinemas in Germany on Apr 10.

In a Jan 18 interview with Radio Eins, Berlin, Najafi uses the German word Kampf (struggle) to describe the significance of women’s football in Iran. It is, he says, a “struggle for freedom … for their dreams.”

The film addresses other struggles, according to the Berlinale preview. First is the struggle against testosterone. Najafi recalls a comment he made to co-director David Assmann as the two stood outside Tehran’s Ararat Stadium during the Dersimspor-Iran match. Since the filmmakers had agreed that only women would be permitted to the game, the two had been relegated to the exterior. “I think that for the first time in Iran since the revolution,” Najafi says, “the women can do something together, over which we have no control.”

Another struggle is against arbitrariness, referring to the labyrinth of regulations that saw the match postponed multiple times and a return match in Berlin canceled due to still murky objections within the Iranian diplomatic corps.

The film also pays tribute to the multicultural wealth of the Kreuzberg side that Najafi and co-producer and Dersimspor player Marlene Assmann first approached with the idea of playing Iran. The club has its origins in the city’s extensive Turkish community. Another team with a Kreuzberg base, fourth-division Turkiyemspor Berlin, received the German football federation’s first integration award in January for, like Dersimspor, welcoming all ethnic groups and women.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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  1. Eivind Dug says:

    Danke, das dieses Thema wieder hoch gebracht wird.

  2. [...] attention across continents. For example, check out this NPR article. Also, popular soccer blog, The Global Game has even featured information about this [...]

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