Children of Heaven - 1998
Directed by Majid Majidi
Young Ali (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) looses his sister's only pair of shoes and the two must find a way to continue attending school without this being noticed by their parents.
Color, 1 hour 28 minutes, Farsi
Original Title: Bacheh ha-ye Aseman
Firouzan Rank # 6
|Mohammad Amir Naji||Ali's Father|
|Mir Farrokh Hashemian||Ali|
|Nafiseh Jafar Mohammadi||Roya|
|Fereshteh Sarabandi||Ali's Mother|
|Dariush Mokhtari||Ali's Teacher|
|Mohammad Hassan Hosseinian||Roya's Father|
|Masumeh Dalir||Roya's Mother|
|Zahra Mezani||Zahra's Teacher|
|Mohammad Hossein Shahedi||Ali Reza|
|Seyyed Ali Hosseini||Ali's Friend|
|Director of Photography||Parviz Malekzadeh|
|Sound Recordist||Yadollah Najafi|
|Production Designer||Asghar Nezhad Imani|
|Sound Mixer||Mohammad Reza Delpaak|
Zahra's battered shoes are repaired not long before Ali looses them.
Zahra (Bahareh Sedighi) takes care of the baby, unaware of the bad news her brother is about to break.
Passing notes during homework time - Ali (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) suggests sharing his shoes so they can both attend school.
Zahra is embarrassed of her brother's plain, dirty, boyish shoes.
Rushing to exchange shoes with Ali.
Taking a break from washing Ali's tattered old shoes.
Ali accompanies his father (Mohammad Amir Naji) as he looks for gardening work in a richer part of Tehran.
Ali's father takes in the opulent yard of a rich family.
Racing for third place and the brand new pair of shoes that comes with it.
"Did I come in third?"
Ali rests his tired feet.
By Janet Maslin The New York Times
The young hero of Majid Majidi's "Children of Heaven" is played by Mir Farrokh Hashemian, a desolate-looking boy with huge brown eyes and a way of sending tears suddenly rolling down his cheeks. Those tears well up with some regularity during this film about 9-year-old Ali, his younger sister Zahra (Bahareh Sedighi) and their scheme for sharing a pair of his tattered sneakers. The children want to hide the fact that Zahra's shoes have been lost because this will be a hardship for their parents. The family's carefully detailed poverty, which reflects the filmmaker's own childhood experience, colors everything that happens in this story. Continued
By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid
This movie from Iran, by Majid Majidi, is stunning and unforgettable in its honest, direct approach. A small boy from a poor family in Tehran loses his sister's shoes on the way home from getting them repaired. In order to escape the wrath of their father, he and his sister must share his shoes every day, racing back and forth through the streets to meet one another and switch shoes. "Children of Heaven" belongs in a class with Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief" (1949) and Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali" (1955), with a little of Peter Yates' "Breaking Away" (1979) thrown in.
By Ari Siletz www.arisiletz.com
This movie was produced by Iran’s Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, an important fact for the Western viewer to keep in mind. "Children of Heaven" is a charming fable that teaches us how to be good Iranians. Paradoxically, its simple plot also reveals the tragedies that befall those who learn their lesson too well. The gentleness, compassion, honesty and courage that the narrative so ably demonstrates give rise to the protagonists' questionable act of forbearance: their noble resolve not to burden authority figures with their problem. Continued
By Edwin Jahiel Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel
Iranian cinema became known around the mid-1960s. In 1979, the fall of the Shah and the takeover by the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime made the country into a theocracy with many restrictions and severe censorship. During the Khomeini decade, cinema declined in numbers, quality and scope.
With the death of Khomeini and a (very relative) "liberalization," good filmmaking picked up. Several directors -- notably Abbas Kiarostami -- became world figures, not in the entertainment-oriented, subtitles-loathing USA, but in Europe and its festivals. Censorship however, though somewhat relaxed, is still going strong in Iran. Continued
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