Children of Heaven DVD
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Directed by Majid Majidi
Produced in 1997
Main Language - Persian with English subtitles
Filmed at child's eye level, this ravishing film from Majid Majidi (The Colour of Paradise) is a subtle and intelligent Iranian film that is deserving of rediscovery, writes Mike Bartlett.
From the opening shot of two children's shoes being mended to that of a boy's blistered feet being pecked at by goldfish, Majid Majidi's film is one which makes ravishing visual epiphanies out of the mundane and everyday.
Its story is simple – 9 year-old Ali collects his younger sister's precious pink shoes from the cobblers only to lose them on the way home. Because his family are too poor to buy another pair, this simple event has huge ramifications, pushing Ali to do everything from disobeying his parents to taking part in a televised sporting contest in order to get the shoes back.
In this respect, Children of Heaven follows in a tradition of subtle and intelligent children's films from Iran, like Kiarostami's Where is the Friend's House? and Panahi's The White Balloon, which send the young protagonists out on quests through the streets, allowing the director to show many different areas of society. This film, particularly, is as much a portrait of the capital city of Tehran as it is of one family, its impoverished backwaters and startlingly modern gated communities all shot on location in a neo-realist style reminiscent of Bicycle Thieves. Throughout, Majidi keeps the camera at children's eye level so we see everything from their perspective, even to the extent that adult faces can be cut off by the edge of the frame.
The children give winning performances and the film became the first from its country to receive a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination. Over a decade on from its original release, it deserves to be rediscovered.
Michael Bartlett on 10th July 2012
Author of 26 reviews
The accidental loss of a pair of shoes causes problems for a young Iranian boy in Children of Heaven - the uplifting, charming Iranian family drama from Majid Majidi (The Colour of Paradise).
After Ali fetches his little sister Zahra's pink shoes from the cobblers, they are accidentally picked up by a garbageman. With his family in financial troubles, Ali decides not to tell his parents about the loss. Instead, he agrees to share his shoes with Zahra. The plan is that she will wear them to school in the morning and return them to Ali at midday, so he can attend afternoon classes. However, the arrangement soon brings futher hardships and it's not long before Ali is forced to consider an alternative solution...
Length: 84 mins
Cat No: MIRLGD94443
Format: DVD Colour