Permission (Araghe Sard)
Baran Kosari, Amir Jadidi, Leili Rashidi, Hoda Zeinolabedin
Iranian writer-director Soheil Beiraghi’s second feature following 2016’s Me, the piercing, gripping Permission stars Baran Kosari as a champion athlete stranded in her own country.
Afrooz (Kosari) is the devoted captain of Iran’s national futsal squad (a form of indoor soccer played on a handball court). But as the rest of her team take off to Malaysia for the Asia Cup finals, she’s left at the airport. The reason? An Iranian law stating that a woman needs permission from her husband to leave the country. In Afrooz’s case, her bitter, about-to-be-former husband Yaser (Amir Jadidi) has taken revenge on his wife’s emancipated lifestyle by doing the only thing in his power to keep her around. Thus begins a battle in which the fiercely determined Afrooz uses any means necessary to fight the everyday injustices faced by women in Iran.
Beiraghi uses her setup to explore the cruelty inherent in legally enforced gender roles, depicting Afrooz as she goes from confident, autonomous star player to frustrated, powerless wife, her chance to claim a personal and professional victory slipping away minute by minute. Exceptionally well crafted, Permission is a bold, uncompromising look at the inequities of Iranian society, with a clear-eyed intimacy that recalls the best works of Asghar Farhadi and Jafar Panahi.