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Iran, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Maziar Bahari

In a country like Iran, where 75 per cent of the population is under 25, football can tell a lot about society and its people. While half the population, women, are not allowed to enter a stadium or play the game, they can visit training sessions and phone in during question times with the players. A young woman tells of a scorching puppy love for a league player, an infatuation nurtured precisely by her hero's absolute inapproachability.

The stakes are raised when the national team qualifies for the world championships and people turn to the streets in numbers not seen since the Islamic Revolution. The personal meets head-on with the political when a soldier - filled with a mix of emotions - attends the match against former deadly enemy, Iraq.

From semi-automatic guns to worn football boots, world finals to war-ravaged playing fields, Football, Iranian Style offers a comprehensive panorama of Iranian society and modern history - mediated through issues of religion, war and immigration. A poignant audience delight at Amsterdam and Pusan Film Festivals.

Maziar Bahari (born Tehran, Iran in 1967) graduated in film and political science from Concordia and McGill Universities, Montreal, Canada in 1993. Making his first film, Do You Know Where the Past Begins? in 1991, he has since worked for various organisations, broadcasters, newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, the BBC and UNICEF. Bahari's other films include The Voyage of St Louis (1995), Art of Demolition (1998) and Of Shame and Coffins (2001).

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