05 July 2009

Children of Heaven

Winner of the Montreal World Film Festival Grand Prix of the Americas Award and the Air Canada People's Award, CHILDREN OF HEAVEN is a sensitive, memorable, amazingly spiritual and beautiful film from Majid Majidi. ``Children of Heaven'' is about a home without unhappiness. About a brother and sister who love one another, instead of fighting.

This heart touching story brings back family values, and the rewards that come to a hard working family. The story is set in Iran, and the main characters are Ali and his sister Zahra, who struggle with a problem that they must keep away from their parents. Ali managed to lose his little sister’s shoes, and knowing their parents had no money until the next few months, they couldn’t turn to their sick mother, or poor hardworking father for a new pair. The children come up with a solution that might work if little Zahra could run just a little faster in her brother’s too big, beat up shoes. You see, every day she would wear Ali’s shoes to her morning class, and then meet Ali in the alley where they would exchange shoes and he would wear them to his afternoon class. In the meantime, Zahra learns that her shoes were picked up by a blind man and given to his daughter who attends the same school. Everyday she watches her running and skipping in her old, sparkly, red shoes. The other great aspect of this movie is the family is poor and often run out of things at the end of a pay period. They struggle to make ends meet, and often have to do without when they run out of things. Ali’s father receives some gardening tools and decides to try to make some extra money on the weekend. His father decides to take Ali on a bike ride into the rich city, much more modern than the poor slums they live in on the outskirts of the city. They go in search of gardening work; the father finds it difficult to find any customers by speaking into the intercom systems of the big, intimidating mansions. He just gets shut down by the stuck up people on the other side wondering why he is bothering them. The young and brave Ali steps up and finds a man who is in need of a gardener, Ali scores himself a playmate and fun toys to play with for the afternoon and work for his father. Now back to the shoe issue, Ali finally finds his answer. He enters a running race for boys and the third place winner gets a new pair of shoes. Ali battles the other boys, but fails to succeed at getting new shoes because he comes in first place instead of third place. Ali must then go home to tell his sister the heartbreaking news. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but I am sure you can imagine it is a happy one, as the children continue to struggle to find a solution. They are such wonderful, obedient and respectful little children. They know they must take their problems into their own hands. Since their parents did not create this mess, they do not want to burden them with it. They decide to help each other and come up with a plan that works for them, although not as smoothly as they would like. This is a movie that is great for the entire family.

Its a masterpiece....

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