Movie Review – “Children of heaven”

Hmm.. umm.. what do you mean?

M replied totally out of character, confused. In our office usually he has the best one-liners to most complex of questions. Incorrect replies, but funny nonetheless.

I had just asked him whether he loves his sister. Personal yes, but not a complex question by any standards.
He took the longest pause I remember him taking, and mumbled out something like this.
Yeah I like meeting her..mmm..but thats it you know..hmm.. I guess we were never very fond of each other…I like to see her once in a while. As for love, I would not associate the word for a sister“.

I knew what he meant and I did not intend to stretch the conversation more. We both looked deep into our coffee mugs and sipped.But the question remained to be answered was this: how else do you describe your fondness for a relation other than your spouse, say for a sister?

Coincidentally I watched the the movie the same evening. “Children of heaven” an Iranian movie released in 1997. It was nominated for the Academy award for best foreign language film in 1998 and eventually lost to Italian movie “Life is beautiful”. The movie was released as Bacheha-Ye Aasmaan in Persian, written and directed by Majid Majidi.

It is the story of a brother and sister (Ali and Zahra) from a poor family in Iran. Ali has managed to lose his sister’s only pair of shoes on the way home from the shoe-repair shop. They cannot tell this at home, because their father cannot afford a new pair of shoes, and also it may mean punishment. This must remain a secret, but how will Zahra go to school now?

What unfold are a lot of funny situations, and a lot of running around. Then there comes a school selection for an upcoming marathon race for children. Ali learns, that the person who comes third in the race, gets a pair of shoes as the prize. He finds a prospective solution to their problem. What happens next is for you to find out.

There are a lot of points going in favour of this movie. For once it gives a sneak peak into the lives of ordinary Iranians(presumably in Teheran), which was really good to see. The children are portrayed as they should be, innocent yet full of life. It is a known fact how the children in Indian movies are portrayed, either an undefined character in the script, or, most of the times, too smart. What is lost is the innocence which is the only word true to children. Hightime Indian directors took notice of this fact and I am eagerly looking forward to Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par.

Above all, the simple story-telling makes this movie a winner. The soul of the story deals with the spirit of life which essentially means taking setbacks in life, finding ways how to get over them, and winning. Its a toast to life. Kudos to the director for not deviating from the story for even a second and presenting it at the right pace.

It almost made me want to stretch my imagination to be able to bring a smile to a non-existent little sister of mine. No matter how they describe the feeling in the west, I would call it love.


7 Responses

  1. It was nice reading your blog.

  2. Thank you Ashish!

  3. I watch this movie once, and I never forget it until now.
    I wish that there’re 2 oscar cathegory for foreign movie, so both CHILDREN OF HEAVEN and also LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL would get one.
    All this time I always try to have the DVD but
    I never find it in my country(or maybe I don’t know exactly where to find it 🙂 )
    It’s really beautiful,,,
    Sometimes I imagine that the girl is me and the boy is my brother hehehe,,,
    Hey, have you ever watched
    It’s a Korean movie.
    So simple story,but so beautiful.
    Its story tell about the relationship between a seven years old boy and his seventy seven years old grandmother.

  4. rara,

    Thanks for the comment. I will try and watch the movie suggested by you.


  5. My mother recently watched this movie on television and she loved it so much that she ordered me to obtain it on DVD so that she could show it to us and then we can talk about it. Unfortunately it is not available in local dvd market so I am looking for torrents.

    When we were young we saw another Iranian movie on national television I don’t remember the title of the movie but it was the story of a rich man who dies leaving behind a treasure. His entire family who were all claiming to be the owner of the treasure were than trapped in an underground chamber where the treasure was hidden. I don’t remember the full story but I do remember that we loved this movie.

  6. This movie is a must-see. I hope you find it!

    Thanks for the comment.


  7. Hiii

    Roshani I heard lot about Children Of Heaven but I’m not getting the DVD of same in India.
    U r blog is great.

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