Iranians kick over ‘Daughter’

Gilbert pic's theme has soccer squad fuming

PARIS — Iran’s World Cup soccer team is crying “foul” on a decision to air Brian Gilbert’s 1990 pic “Not Without My Daughter.”

Private web M6 aired the film on Monday, just days before the soccer world prepared to savor the unlikely spectacle of the Iranian national side lining up opposite the United States team.

The story follows a young Californian woman’s travails in Iran. Married to an Iranian, she is kept in virtual slavery — or at least made to respect strict Islamic customs, which seem like slavery after California — before eventually escaping back home with her daughter.

Speaking at a press conference that would normally be devoted to soccer tactics and pre-match rap, members of the Iranian squad accused their French hosts of showing the film in an attempt to throw the Iranian team off its game. “This film has been shown to bring tension to our team, and we are very upset. It is a lie and an insult to Iranian culture,” Iranian squad members complained.

M6 insiders say that the pic, which stars Sally Field, was part of its counterprogramming policy of trying to appeal to female viewers during the World Cup.

One question that is puzzling soccer followers is why the Iranian players were watching M6 anyway, seeing as “Not Without My Daughter” aired opposite the Germany vs. USA game, which perhaps should have been higher on the Iranian viewing priority list, given Sunday’s match against the U.S.