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Football Under Cover takes on a new resonance

Posted at 4:07 PM on June 24, 2009 by Euan Kerr

Members of the visiting women's soccer team from Germany sign autographs for Iranian women in Teheran in 'Football Under Cover (Image courtesy Walker Art Center

Ayat Najafi and David Assmann's documentary "Football Under Cover" takes on new bite as a result of the current situation in Iran.

The film follows the convoluted journey which a German women's soccer team embarks upon when it learns there is a similar team in Teheran which has never been able to play against another team.

A seemingly simple desire to play a friendly game becomes a bureaucratic nightmare where months of preparation could be undone at any moment by any one of the myriad of officials in Iran. At one point they set a date for the game and make travel arrangements, only to learn the Iranian government has moved the game four months later without telling them.

On top of that the team has to prepare to play in 'modest' uniforms, including specially designed sports headscarves. They also have to get ready to play before the largest crowd they have ever had at their games, who because of strict religious rules is all women.

The film makers also follow some of the Iranian women who are hoping to play in the game. What comes to the fore is their overwhelming love of the game is really what causes them to go through the restrictions and indignities so they can play.

At times funny, and others sobering, the film is ultimately a celebration of the human spirit. It screens tonight at 8.45 at the Walker Art Center as part of the Queer Takes series.

June 2009
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