- Simple, passionate and beautiful 11/23/2003 12:00:00 AM by ollie501
Bacheha-Ye aseman (Children of Heaven)
It was with some trepidation that I popped this DVD into the player - it was, after all, my first venture into Iranian cinema, so I was a little unsure what to expect. I am used to, and for the most part, enjoy foreign films. They open up an incredible world of cinema that one would otherwise miss. After five minutes, it was fairly evident that this film was something a bit special. The story is simple. While at market shopping, Ali loses his sisters school shoes. After desperately trying in vain to find them, he decides that he and his sister will share his sneakers, meeting her after to school each day to recover them from her, in order to get to school himself. That is pretty much a synopsis of the entire movie. It doesn't end there however...
This film is played with such beauty and innocence; it is a true pleasure to watch. Mohammad Amir Naji plays Ali with such incredible depth and passion, one is completely drawn into his plight. From the start of the film, we see the relationship between brother and sister, played with equal warmth by Bahare Seddiqi, strained as he explains how he lost her shoes. The sorrow on Ali's face, and Zahra's tears at the news, are truly heartbreaking to watch. The expressions on the faces of the children are so genuine, it is clear that spending a cinematic hour and half will be a pleasure, albeit not an easy one.
We see Ali and his Father looking for work as gardeners. From the outset it is clear that Ali's Father is strict, but it is also evident he loves his son dearly, and the simple exchange of smiles as they find their first job is heart-warming, and totally believable. Cycling through the city, it is very striking that there is a clear division between rich and poor. We are watching a boy, to afraid to tell his father of the loss of a pair of shoes, riding through streets with billboards advertising cell phones, into rural areas where houses with swimming pools, ornate architecture and luxury are rife.
There is so much in Western civilisation that we take for granted. What to us are simple daily belongings to others is pure decadence. Aside from anything else, this film is a window into a world so many of us do not understand. Simple things bring Ali pleasure, blowing bubbles, swinging on swings with his new found friend, the smiles and laughter of the children is absorbing.
Later in the film we see Ali enter a race in order to win a pair of brand new sneakers for his sister. To win them, he must come third. Again we see the division of wealth, as Ali races through the streets, the thoughts and images of his sister swirling in his head, and on screen, while at the same time, parents of other children film the race on camcorders, all the time Ali running, fighting for the shoes he needs so desperately.
The film is directed perfectly, and the credit for this goes to Majid Majidi, whose films have won acclaim worldwide. There are no special effects, no luxurious settings. There are times when the film feels like a documentary in the direction, and that works in its favour. This film would make an excellent introduction into the world of foreign cinema. Throughout the movie, the expressions and emotions displayed by the children speak far louder than any dialogue ever could.
The film is not dialogue intensive, and one could easily watch the film, and understand the story, even without the aid of subtitles. This film was nominated for an Academy Award, and it not difficult to see why. Ignoring for a moment the subtitles and language barriers, since they are not overly crucial to the film, this is a story of true innocence, and tugs hard at the heartstrings, sometimes to breaking point. The portrayal of the children is gentle, warm and absolutely believable, and one cannot help but be drawn into this tale, as it gently unwinds. It is sometimes tough to watch the emotions played out, but ultimately, worth every second.
Missing this film, particularly if simply put off by the fact it is foreign language, would a sad deprivation of the senses and the heart. It is not just a film, it is an experience, and one that is completely passionate, and totally unforgettable.
I truly cannot recommend this highly enough. It is widely available on DVD or VHS - rent it, borrow it or buy it - you will be glad that you did!
Reviewed by Ollie
- Solid, moving. There should be more movies like this! 11/13/2003 12:00:00 AM by timffoster
This movie quietly puts to shame the majority of junk spewing out of Hollywood. A fat wad of cash thrown at big names and special effects cannot move the human soul like the innocence and sincerety displayed by Majidi's cast and direction. It's a shame that there are not more movies like this.
The plot is simple, the actors sincere and the tone spot-on. This movie works because we're drawn into the world of Ali, his life and his surrounding. Kudos to Majidi's craftsmanship. Ali's plight, though simple (if not trivial to most of us), becomes his obsession because of his love and respect for his sister and his family. We would do well to be so moved! The climax of the movie is brilliant! Ali's grueling determination to win a race and get shoes for his sister results in an unwanted triumph! (Sorry - no spoilers here. You'll have to see the movie). I must be getting older, because I'm moved with emotions just describing the movie -- and it's been months since I've seen it!
The redemption of Ali's resulting emotion and confusion will be lost on an innatentive viewer, so *PAY CLOSE ATTENTION* to the last 10 minutes of the movie.
Beauty doesn't have to forcibly blow you away. This movie is simply beautiful, and it will blow you away.
- Wonderfully heartwarming 3/9/2003 12:00:00 AM by Gordon-11
Wow, what can I say? Every bit of this film is so warm! It really looked at the world from a child's perspective. Every single scene is inundated with sweetness and the innocence of children. How they share one pair of shoes was amazing...and heartbreaking. How the little sister had no confidence in her brothers shoes was shown in such a warm and effective way. The ultimate despair Ali felt when he won was also so heartbreaking. Ali and his sister are both so cute and they can really act. This film can easily move one to tears. Do watch it!
- This Film So Overwhelmed Me With Joy, I Feel Obligated to Share My Emotion With All Who Would Listen! 10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM by KissEnglishPasto
............................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL
It's easy to understand why there are over 100 reviews of "Children of Heaven". Normally, that simple fact would have dissuaded me from adding a review of my own. But, as I'm sure others have felt, this film so overwhelmed me with joy, I feel obligated to share my feelings with all who would listen!
After watching "Children", it occurred to me that I have, perhaps, never seen an Iranian film I didn't like. This film celebrates the essence and innocence of youth, with an unencumbered intensity, with such unpretentious panache, that any comparison to American films that make an effort along similar lines, regrettably, seem rather empty, almost laughable in comparison.
The fierce sibling rivalry so familiar in the majority of American movies is replaced here by a warm, caring fraternal relationship based on love, consideration, self-sacrifice and mutual respect. These little Muslim children demonstrate the most exemplary of true Christian behavior in both word and deed. I hope that here, in America, this opinion can be stated clearly, in a review such as this one, without fear of provoking a mindless outpouring of reactionary negative clicks.
I feel more than a tinge of remorse, even embarrassment, when I think of the millions of Iranians who see far too many American films where children are portrayed, more often than not, as selfish, wise-cracking, foul-mouthed, bullying, disrespectful, totally inconsiderate little brats. To make matters worse, this abhorrent behavior is too often viewed as copacetic, or worse, even exemplary, something that kids today often strive to imitate.
Some have commented that "Children" seems incomplete or leaves them feeling somewhat bewildered or left them hanging in mid-air. All I can say to them is just reflect carefully for a moment on the value systems of the kids in the movie...maybe then you will be able to feel much more satisfied with this great cinematic experience.
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Espa?ol, are most [email protected]
- ENCHANTING & UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE 7/26/2004 12:00:00 AM by blue-7
What a marvelous thing film can be. It can touch us and open our hearts to a culture that is both different and familiar to ours. CHILDREN OF HEAVEN, a film by Iranian filmmaker, Majid Majidi, takes us into the world of a little boy and his sister, letting us feel the love and trust that they have in each other. The boy, through no fault of his own, loses his little sister's newly repaired school shoes the day before she needs them. It becomes their secret. They try sharing a pair of his sneakers -- the girl wearing them in the morning and he in the afternoon to school. The wonderful, innocent faces of the beautiful Iranian children and their code of honor, even in poverty, provides the bases for a very uplifting tale of children trying to overcome a crisis. The direction, cinematography, music are all outstanding -- but it is the children that you will fall in love with. Well worth picking up on DVD (though there are no "Extras" to speak of).