Children of Heaven (1997) is an Iranian film directed by Majid Majidi. Some time has passed since it was made, but it is timeless in its beauty. That is why I want to write something about it (now).
It’s a story about a boy from a poor family, Ali, who loses his sister’s shoes. He knows his father has no money to buy new ones, so he and his sister decide to share his sneakers. She goes to school in the morning, he goes in the afternoon. Every day after school, she runs fast to meet him, and they exchange shoes on the street (he takes the sneakers, she puts on the house slippers), and then he runs fast in order to get to school on time.
It’s an adventure, and they have a lot of additional issues on the way. The plot is very simple, but it captures such a bigger story. The issues of poverty – not being able to afford basic things, feeling frustrated, running in circles.. But, it also perfectly captures the creativity and adroitness growing out of poverty. Not being able to have something, you need to find your way – either make it somehow, or learn how to get around without it. And still find pleasure, and still be able to smile, and – love. That is the magic, and children are the ones who know how to do it the best.
All of the actors are great, but Amir Farrokh Hashemian, a boy playing Ali, is simply amazing. His emotions are so honest and moving. I didn’t feel, at any point – he is an actor. It was real, it was his life. There’s this aura of beauty and innocence which makes it a true pleasure to watch. It took me back to my childhood. Our ways of making things and making things happen – little moments of joy – like not having money for firecrackers for New Year’s eve, but collecting milk cartons for days, inflating them and then jumping on them to make them sound like firecrackers. It was magic.
Be sure to watch to movie, if you haven’t. It’s unique, heartwarming, inspiring and just – marvelous.
Here are some screenshots I took. Enjoy.