Children of Heaven Review – Divine Treat

(For SI Blog readers Kreacher & Vedagiri)

How can I ever deny the world is a weird place!

After all, some of the finest movies I’ve watched have come from the oddest of places.

Now who’d think Mullah paradise Eyeran (as many American schmucks mispronounce the country) would produce movies that delight even a jaded and cynical heart like SI’s.

At the suggestion of SI blog readers Kreacher and Vedagiri, I watched the Iranian movie Bacheha-ye Aseman a.k.a. Children of Heaven (1998) yesterday.

Poverty Sucks

I have never succumbed to the nonsensical notion put forth by stupid fucks like the Albanian midget Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu a.k.a. Mother Teresa that poverty and suffering are ennobling.

Au contraire, poverty is a hideous curse, an oppression that inflicts countless sufferings on its victims!

Any way you look at it, poverty is trauma, physiological and psychological, for both the young and the old.

Poverty is the broad setting for Children of Heaven, the framework in which the life of a struggling Tehran family should be viewed.

When Ali loses his younger sister Zahra’s pink shoes after getting it mended at the cobbler, his family’s dire financial situation makes it impossible to get a new pair.

Ali’s father works in a lowly job that pays little. The family of five lives in a small house and Ali’s father is behind on the  rent for five months.

So for Ali to even consider telling his father that he’s lost Zahra’s shoes is unthinkable.

But the close bond between the siblings gives rise to an unusual solution on how Zahra can still go to school without her shoes.

Alas, it’s an imperfect solution. And it creates problems for both Ali and Zahra, more so for Ali.

How Ali and Zahra navigate through the problem of  the lost shoes is the essence and beauty of this remarkable film.

To make a gorgeous film on such a simple topic as a lost pair of shoes takes extraordinary talent.

As the movie demonstrates, director Majid Majidi is not short of the talent required.

Many Fine Moments

There are several beautiful moments in Children of Heaven.

Zahra racing from her school every day to Ali waiting in the alley, when Zahra loses one of the shoes in the gutter, Ali’s running race toward the end, his disappointment over his victory, Zahra’s disappointment upon learning that her shoes had been thrown away and so on.

My favorite scene in the movie is of a stressed and tense Zahra desperately looking at the feet of all her school mates to identify her old shoes that she had found earlier on another girl’s feet.

And the ending is so tastefully handled, without any of the melodramatic excesses common to Indian films.

Sin Not to Watch It

Children of Heaven is an extraordinary movie, one of the jewels to emerge out of Asia.

If the story and direction by Majid Majidi is peerless, the acting is no less impressive.

Amir Farrokh Hashemian as Ali, Bahare Seddiqi as Zahra and Reza Naji as the children’s father are exceptional.

Children of Heaven won an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film at the 71st Academy Awards but lost out to the slightly better Italian movie, Life is Beautiful.

In my not so humble opinion, for movie buffs not to watch Children of Heaven is a sin that can never be expiated. entreats you to watch Children of Heaven.

The DVD is available at Netflix.

As for me, I will be watching more films by Majid Majidi in the coming days. On Monday, I expect to receive the DVD of his 2001 film Baran.

4 Responses to "Children of Heaven Review – Divine Treat"

  1. msveda   December 29, 2013 at 4:49 am

    My all time Favourite Film.

  2. msveda   December 29, 2013 at 4:51 am

    This movie is best advertisement for Human Life.

    It taught me Positivity and Humble.

    A great lesson for human beings. Responds:

    You write: A great lesson for human beings.

    I hate to disappoint you…But positivity, humility and humbleness are neither great virtues nor recipes for success.

  3. msveda   December 29, 2013 at 6:01 am

    I agree that Positivity, Humbleness are not recipes for Human Success.

    But these two qualities will enable humans to sail even worst of storms successfully.

    Again, if humans are deprived of these qualities altogether, then Life will become extinct on earth. Responds:

    The Follies of Man means that we’re all just a button-push away from extinction.

    Plus, I’m not sure if extinction of our species is something to be grieved over! 😉

  4. unknownvirus   December 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Have you seen Deepa Mehta’s Water?

    Seema Biswas and Lisa Ray are just wonderful.

    Had it not been for The lives of others, this one would have been a sure shot Oscar winner that year. Responds:

    You write: Have you seen Deepa Mehta’s Water?

    From the pre SI Blog days:

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