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Penalty

Directed by Ensieh Shah Husseini
Country Iran
Production Cheragh-e Sabz Art and Culture Institute
Showing on 6/15/2009 21.30
Synopsis
Maybe it’s the director’s feminine sensitivity (the director in question is the already prized and award-winning Ensieh Shah Husseini) or maybe it’s the location, a land which has been miraculously immune to the disturbing influences of a certain kind of television, but in this delightfully unpredictable Iranian film, football, here employed as a cheerful mean to solve a serious matter of survival, has nothing in common with the well known starlets “in want of a husband” and the colonisation of monumental castles.Because in the small dirt road village of hopping kids, populated by a resourceful and sensible community, the residence to be conquered goal by goal cherishes no particular ambition other than quickly replace the former industrial hangar that hosts it, the decisively casual attire of the young “athletes’” makes them as glamorous as Huckleberry Finn and the most sought after women are those who master the art of turning curd into cheese and who, regardless of rigid state laws and to everyone’s shock, break into the local stadium, to support their men as they engage in the football match of a lifetime: homeless versus real estate agents. The vaguely vintage cinematography seems to reproduce, and with a good dose of brilliance too, the D.I.Y. atmosphere in which the story’s main players seek the best available training scheme to provide for the lack of professional equipment and still manages – taking advantage of flaming sunsets, water games, multicoloured plants and animals and any other breathtaking environmental element – to convey, on the notes of some summer iPod tune, infectious optimism and the question on who, between the true stars of international football and this bunch of adorable losers, is actually the true champion. May the best win.
Maria Rosa Cerino

Interpreters
Ghasem Zare, Reza Nouri, Sadegh Hatefi, Mohammad Jamalpour, Rasoul Baharangiz.

Director biography
Born in 1954 in Gorgan, Ensieh Shah-Hosseini graduated in cinematography. Researcher and novelist, she has also been a war reporter, documentary filmmaker and professional screenwriter. Her novel won the best prize at a 20-year-old Iranian book prize and her short film “Deadline” won the first prize at the 2001 Women Film Festival in Seoul. Her second feature Goodbye, Life (originally titled Good Night, Commander), based on her own life as a journalist during the war between Iraq and Iran, premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Director Filmograpy
2009 Penalty
2006 Goodbye, Life
2005 Let’s Go, It’s Late