Thursday, November 17, 2005


Amir Farrokh Hashemian Children of Heaven Movie Directed by Majid Majidi
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


Ali, a young Iranian boy from a poor family, is on his way home after picking up his sister's shoes from a shop where they were getting repaired, and inadvertantly ends up losing them. For a family with limited financial resources, this is a nightmare. Zahra, the sister, is pretty upset about it, but brother and sister agree not to tell their parents (lest they get a beating from Father).

Eventually they devise a plan to solve the problem. Zahra will wear her brother's sneakers to her classes in the morning, and then run to meet Ali, who will wear them to his afternoon studies at school.

But after getting in trouble several times for being late to class, Ali realizes this isn't going to work. So he finds out about a running competition involving boys his age, and third place is a pair of new shoes!


The acting of the two main children was impressive. I found them endearing and easily watchable. And the filming is topnotch, too. The camera angles, the use of light and dark, the underwater guppies, etc. were all handled as if by a professional Hollywood studio (not a low-budget
Iranian film).

It was also nice to be immersed in Iranian culture. The differences between American and Iranian schools, American and Iranian marketplaces, and American and Iranian architecture was startling.

Where this movie was SERIOUSLY lacking was in the script. And mainly in its ending. There are no resolutions, even though I felt there surely would've been. Ali doesn't win 3rd place in the running competition, but he does win. But there's no mention of what he might have done with those winnings.

And there's a scene toward the end of the film where it appears Zahra's father may have bought her some shoes (perhaps the very ones Ali lost), but nothing about this is brought to fruition.

Perhaps it's a nihilistic interpretation of the way Iranian culture is. I'm not sure. But the film seemed to end abruptly with no apparent solutions to Ali and Zahra's problems.

No movie trailer available. Sooorrrry!


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