Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Permission

Reviews - Permission


Reviewed By Ian Payne

Futsal, a variant of 5-a-side football is a huge sport in Iran, so when the star and captain of the ladies' national team tries to fly out to the Pan Asia games to represent her country and finds that she has been banned from travelling by her husband, there should have been a public outcry. Except that in law, in Iran, a husband can prohibit his wife from leaving the country without his permission. The film was inspired by a real-life event and the Director Soheil Beiraghi deliberately set out to create a piece that would draw attention to this injustice. With any crusading film, it is easy to paint the participants as either right or wrong, good or bad. Beiraghi cleverly avoids such stereotyping; all the characters are shown to be flawed in some way.

Afrooz, the stranded captain, first has to find her estranged husband to try and persuade him to change his mind and she is amazed at the lack of support from the Futsal Federation. Her understandable anger at the situation -she has been a futsal player longer than she had been married – means that she alienates friends and colleagues, railing at their inability to help. Yaser, Afrooz's husband is the high-profile host of a saccharine-sweet TV programme who, as the story develops, shows a personality a million miles away from his schmaltzy on-screen image.

Hiring a well-known Human Rights lawyer, Afrooz challenges Yaser in court. It transpires she had been less than honest in her dealings with Yaser during their separation however his intransigence and resentment at Afrooz's success is laid bare by the judge. Offering Yaser a way out of the impasse, Yaser refuses – it is the law, it is my right. The judge can do nothing – it does not matter if you are a sports star or an artist, you are first and foremost a married woman.

Permission, in its own way, has contributed to a slight softening of the law. Credit then to the Director and cast for their bravery is making the film – which was banned from screening in some 100 state-sponsored cinemas.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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