Two buses roll down the streets of Tehran, bound for Azadi Stadium. Packs of wild soccer fans hang out the windows like colorful streamers, shouting victory chants at the occupants of other, similar buses. On one bus, a concerned man searches for his daughter. On another bus, a lone figure sits quietly at the front. She is clearly a girl, with a soft face and a cute, turned-up nose. But she has done her best to disguise her gender, wearing a cap with flaps down the back, baggy clothes, and face painted in Iran's colors. Several of the boys on the bus immediately see through her disguise.
The girl (Sima Mobarak-Shahi) is on her way to see the big Iran vs. Bahrain game, a real-life qualifying match for the 2006 World Cup. The boys warn her that she'll never make it into the stadium, but she persists. She pays exorbitant fees for tickets, and is almost immediately nabbed by a security guard. Thus begins Jafar Panahi's Offside, a movie outraged by the ridiculous rules that keep women from attending live soccer matches in Iran. It has been pleasing audiences all over the world -- except in its native Iran where it has been banned.