Permission

 

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An Iranian film based on fact that seeks to question the law of the land.

 
Permission 

Soheil Beiraghi, born in 1986, is a relatively new name in Iranian cinema since this film, originally known as Cold Sweat, is only his second feature.  For both of these works Beiraghi was the writer as well as being the director. In the case of Permission the subject that he has chosen to tackle puts one in mind of an earlier Iranian film, Jafar Panahi's Offside made in 2006. That piece centred on female football enthusiasts wanting to watch a match in Tehran whereas Permission focuses on a female sports player, Afrooz (Baran Kosari). When we meet her, Afrooz's enthusiasm for indoor soccer has already led to her becoming the captain of the country's National Women's Team. But what makes these films two of a kind is the fact that in both cases the sporting element, although prominent, is secondary to a deep concern about women's rights in Iran.

 

When Panahi made his film, he was spotlighting the situation whereby Iranian women were not allowed inside stadiums. Similarly, Permission derives from real events: the central issue here is that, when the team is due to travel abroad to participate in the Women's Asia Cup Final, Afrooz discovers that her husband, Yaser (Amir Jadidi), from whom she is separating has banned her from leaving the country. Supported by a team member who is a close friend (Sahar Dowlatshahi) and by the team lawyer (Leila Rashidi), Afrooz, although seeking a divorce, concentrates on the more urgent need of doing everything that she can to get Yaser to withdraw the ban in time for her to play in Malaysia.

 

Beiraghi is to be commended for making a film which has provoked debate in Iran regarding the law that gives every husband there the absolute right to act in this prohibitive way. Indeed the plight of Afrooz is absolutely the central strand of Permission even if it does also touch on other matters such as rivalry between team players and the attitudes of their bosses.  Perhaps wisely the film is relatively short (it runs for 88 minutes), but when compared to Offside the writing does rather lack subtlety: Yaser, a successful host on a TV show is the all-out villain of the piece while Kosari's performance as Afrooz, although suitably forceful, becomes rather strident in her delivery of the dialogue. Of these two films, it is undoubtedly Offside which comes over as the more considered work. But, in the light of Beiraghi's aim to create a film that could lead to changes in the law, there is no doubt about Permission being a work to applaud.

 

Original title: Aragh-e-Sard.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Baran Kosari, Amir Jadidi, Leila Rashidi, Hilda Zeinolabedin, Sahar Dowlatshahi, Abbas Moosavi, Maryam Sarmadi.

 

Dir Soheil Beiraghi, Pro Mehdi Davari, Screenplay Soheil Beiraghi, Ph Farhad Mohammadi, Set Des Soheil Beiraghi, Ed Bahram Dehghani and Mohammad Najarian, Music Karen Homayoonfar.

 

Noori Pictures/Filmiran-Peccadillo Pictures.
86 mins. Iran. 2018. Rel: 22 November 2019. Cert. 12A.