Children of Heaven
Children of Heaven is such a weird title for a film that doesn’t really have anything to do with Heaven, although it does have a lot to do with children and shoes. The film was created in Iran in 1997 under the direction of Majid Majidi. In Children of Heaven, Ali loses his sister Zahra’s shoes when a blind man accidently puts them in his cart. Ali and Zahra decide to share Ali’s shoes instead of telling their father. He appears to be very strict or abusive. The sharing of shoes is strenuous for both children because they have to switch shoes between classes and Ali is usually late for his schooling. Zahra goes to school one day and sees another girl wearing her shoes. She follows her home and finds out that her father was the blind man who accidently took the shoes. All seems lost, so Ali decides to join a race. The prize for coming in third place is a new pair of shoes. Ali seems to grow closer with his father after working as gardeners and prepares for the foot race. He ends up winning the race and is depressed because he let his sister down. In the end, the excess money from winning the race and working as the gardener provides new shows for Zahra and the start of a better life for the family.
The themes in Children of Heaven are a lot simpler than and not as obvious as in other films. I think this is because the film doesn’t shove them down your throat like other films do. Obviously poverty was a theme in this film, as it seems to be in a majority of the films we’ve viewed. I think that the special bond between children is another theme showcased in this film. Zahra knew that other child took her shoes, but seemed unable to confront her about it either. The other girl was even kind enough to give Zahra back her lost pen even though it was obvious she needed it more. Even the bond between Ali and Zahra was very special, but that was a different bond – the bond between brother and sister. The whole family dynamic was a little different than usual. Striving for what you need and what you want is another theme in Children of Heaven. Each character, whether Ali or his father, had to really work hard if they wanted something.
This was probably my least favorite movie we’ve viewed this semester. I was very bored the entire film. Children of Heaven definitely could have been cut down into a short film that ran for about 30 minutes. Ali was really annoying since he was crying in almost every single scene. The captions were off so it was kind of comical yet unprofessional looking. I just can’t really think of anything nice to say about this film. I don’t think it was absolutely intolerable, but it just did not have one star quality to it. It almost seemed like someone in our class could have made a film with the same quality.