Kick in Iran – Review

Posted January 24, 2010 in
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Kick in Iran

Sundance Film Festival

Director: Fatima Geza Abdollahyan

*Reviewed with an Unfinished Version of Film*

Abdollahyan’s documentary provides a glimpse into the restricted lives of women in Iran, but also details the unique personal and professional bond between the country’s first female Olympic athlete and her perfectionist coach. The cards are without a doubt stacked against Taekwondo student Sara Khoshjamal-Fekri and her Master as they train to compete in the 2008 Beijing games, but that’s before they’ve even left the borders of their own country. The simple act of gaining admittance into the Olympians’ official gymnasium proves difficult, but it’s no surprise to anyone, especially when the Preacher of the Friday prayer declares Sara’s upcoming voyage to be prostitution and the beginning of fornication. Nevertheless, the two remain diligent and never let the malicious opposition dissolve their aspirations for golden glory. Ironically, the film's strongest and most powerful moments don’t involve kicks or punches, but the brief yet intimate interviews wherein the sports figures’ express their realizations toward the country’s treatment of women. After visiting other regions they come to understand the harsh truth that the less educated women are, the easier it is for them to live in Iran. Complete with training montages and charming scenes depicting the girls’ exposure to outsider delights including Snickers and brownies, the film drastically loses its footing during the climatic finale in China and severs itself completely from its subjects by following the competition’s results. Abdollahyan’s decision to not include an exit interview still leaves me baffled. What starts off as an enticing plot ultimately tapers off ending abruptly and scattered leaving a shoddy and fragmented production in its wake.

–Jimmy Martin

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sundance film guide

Screening Times:

January 26, 2010 – 12:00pm – Holiday Village Cinema IV

January 27, 2010 – 6:00pm – Yarrow Hotel Theatre 

January 28, 2010 – 7:30pm – Broadway Centre Cinemas IV

January 29, 2010 – 9:00am – Holiday Village Cinema IV