Saturday, September 15, 2007

Children of Heaven (Bacheha Ye Aseman) by Majid Majidi

A film from Iran, Children of Heaven, is a glimpse of the poverty and limtations of life and the richness and generosity of heart.

The title itself "Children of Heaven" stands examination. If Heaven is not where one gets everything one wants, then what is it? The poverty of Ali's family is quite tangible, the father does not have money to buy even a pair of shoes for the children. But there is a transcendence visible in this very squalor. Heaven, in this movie, is the realm of unselfishness and innocence present in most of the characters in this movie.

The story is simple: Ali is the son of a poor family. One day he loses the only pair of shoes belonging to his sister. They hide this loss from everybody. One day Ali gets to know of an upcoming race in which one of the prizes is that of a new pair of shoes. He is selected for the race and participates.

I will not disclose what happens afterwards.

There are episodes in the film which show the community spirit co-existing with disease and poverty, which show that generosity can live side-by-side with want, which show that honesty is a gesture of hope and affection, which show that understanding the other person is to fathom the peculiar circumstances which might be forcing him to do what he is doing.

The messages given by the movie are neither preachy or blatant, nor are they overly subtle. The director achieves the rare feat of making the audience imbibe his vision without making it explicit.

The acting and dialogue delivery are average. The camera work, especially in the final sequence, is flawless. The music is minimal and all non-diagetic and plays little part towards strengthening the emotional power of the film.

It is simply the innocence of the characters' world that breaks one's heart in the end.

Recommendation: Must see.

IMDB Link: Children of Heaven

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