Children of Heaven (1997)

Children of Heaven (1997)

A heartwarming, Oscar-nominated family drama set in 1990s Iran

The Very Best

8.8

Movie

Iran
Persian
Drama, Family, Kids
1997
MAJID MAJIDI
Amir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi, Kamal Mirkarimi
89 min

What it's about

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. School awaits.

The take

After third-grader Ali loses the only pair of shoes his sister Zahra owns, the siblings agree to share Ali's sneakers for school. Zahra uses the tattered, ill-fitting footwear in the morning, and in the afternoon, she hands them over to Ali, who then races to get into school in time. The siblings wait for things to get better at home before they mention anything to their already-burdened parents, but in the meantime, they persevere, scooping up every bit of silver lining they find, whether it's popping soap bubbles or taking in the city's ultramodern sights. 

In this way, Children of Heaven is neither cynical nor cheesy. It presents the harsh reality of Tehran's poor without robbing them of hope and agency, giving the movie the right amount of self-aware and feel-good that elevates it into a classic. Thanks to this masterful balance, plus many awe-inspiring shots and lines, it should come as no surprise that Children of Heaven is the first Iranian film to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature at the Oscars.

Comments

Great heart touching movie.

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