Can't go the distance
Set in an abandoned soccer stadium in Kirkuk, a Kurdish city in northern Iraq, Kick-Off is restrained in its depiction of war. Bombings occur off-screen, and foreign armies are reduced to helicopters flying overhead. Less subtle are the characters: Asu, the hero, plans a soccer game between ethnic groups, his portly friend Sako provides the comic relief and Miss Helin, a beautiful neighbor, plays the romantic interest. In the end, what starts as a study of multiculturalism ends in cliché and melodrama.
KICK-OFF | Directed by Shawtat Amin Korki (Iraq, Iran 2009) with Shwan Atuf, Govar Anwar, Rojan Hamajaza. Opens February 10