Foreign Films and Society

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The world is diverse in several ways, each country possessing its’ own culture and set of values, which can portrayed through cinema. In America, freedom of speech is applied to cinema, therefore there are not any subjects off-limits to be filmed, but this could not be said for foreign countries. Jafar Panahi, an radical Iranian filmmaker, has received much criticism for his liberal portrayals of Iranian society, such as in the movie “Offside”, where a group of women disguise themselves as men, in order to attend a football match and are caught and arrested. In addition, “The Year My Parents Went On Vacation” by Brazilian filmmaker Cao Hamburger, is an auto-biography which clearly depicts how instable the Brazilian government was during his childhood. These films are unique because they seem to have a documentary perspective, helping the viewer analyze different societies and showcasing how different the culture is in that respective country. From watching these two films, I have learned a lot about Iran and Brazil and how different these societies are from America.

Firstly, in Panahi’s “Offside”, the title is fitting because the women who dress up as men and sneak into the football game are literally “off-sides”. In Iranian society, it is deemed inappropriate for women to attend live men sporting events. In the Middle East, it is commonly known that women wear burkas (a garment that serves as a head-cover) because they are not allowed to show their skin, because Muslims place importance upon purity and are very conservative towards females. Therefore in Iran, they believe that it is not acceptable for women to enter the football stadium because cheering, cursing, and possible fights will take place, and that does not fit the standards of what a lady should be in Iranian society, although this conservative standard is not held for men. Men allowed to paint their faces, curse, and shout during the game all they want. I noticed this in the very beginning of the...
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