Title: Kick in Iran
Director: Fatima Geza Abdollahyan
Summary: Sarah Khoshjamal, a 20-year-old Taekwondo superstar, is the first female professional athlete from Iran to qualify for the Olympics. This skillful vérité portrait follows the unassuming Khoshjamal in the nine months leading up to the 2008 Beijing games. Living in an Islamic country, she is required to wear a hijab at all times and, unlike her fellow competitors around the world, cannot train with men; however, the power in her fighting resoundingly breaks down stereotypical barriers. Khoshjamal’s experience as a world-class athlete may be familiar, but captured here is the importance of the coach-athlete relationship. The bond she shares with her feisty and much-admired female coach is revealed through everyday moments as both struggle through inequality to make their mark—in sport and society. Though it’s still the male athletes who are ultimately celebrated in her country, Khoshjamal’s accomplishments and lasting influence on scores of girls in Iran are undeniable (Sundance).
Thoughts: I envision this film as a good version of “the Next Karate Kid.” Actually, even that seems like an underestimate of this documentary. In truth, I love the idea behind this film, especially it’s decision to stick with a vérité portrait- which is often more difficult to deliver on. Hopefully this is the type of film that is truthful and empowering… ok, heck I really just want to see this girl kick butt while “You’re the Best” blasts in the background. Ok, I know that won’t happen (which is probably for the best) but watch the trailer and you’ll agree this is going to be a good film.