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Children of Heaven

Amir Farrokh Hashemian stars as AliAmir Farrokh Hashemian with director Majid MajidiBahare Seddiqi stars as Zohre

Plot

Zohre's shoes are gone; her older brother Ali lost them. They are poor, there are no shoes for Zohre until they come up with an idea: they will share one pair of shoes…

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 8.2/10 (10,540 voted)

Director:
Majid Majidi

Stars: Mohammad Amir Naji, Amir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi

Storyline
Zohre's shoes are gone; her older brother Ali lost them. They are poor, there are no shoes for Zohre until they come up with an idea: they will share one pair of shoes, Ali's. School awaits. Will the plan succeed?

Cast:

Mohammad Amir Naji

Ali's Father

(as Amir Naji)


Amir Farrokh Hashemian

Ali

(as Mir Farrokh Hashemian)


Bahare Seddiqi

Zahra


Nafise Jafar-Mohammadi

Roya


Fereshte Sarabandi

Ali's Mother


Kamal Mirkarimi

Assistant

(as Kamal Mir Karimi)


Behzad Rafi

Trainer

(as Behzad Rafiee)


Dariush Mokhtari

Ali's Teacher


Mohammad-Hasan Hosseinian

Roya's Father


Masume Dair

Roya's Mother


Kambiz Peykarnegar

Race Organizer


Hasan Roohparvari

Race Photographer


Abbas-Ali Roomandi

Shoemaker


Jafar Seyfollahi

Green Grocer


Qolamreza Maleki

Salt Seller

Taglines:
A Little Secret…Their Biggest Adventure!

Release Date: 22 January 1999

Filming Locations: Tehran, Iran



Box Office Details

Budget: $180,000

(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $20,100
(USA)
(24 January 1999)
(3 Screens)

Gross: $925,402
(USA)
(23 May 1999)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:

Iran's official submission for the Foreign Language Film category of the 71st Academy Awards (1999).



User Review

Simple, passionate and beautiful

Rating: 10/10

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