Saturday, August 8, 2015

'Children of Heaven' (1997)

Children of Heaven Review Balcony Row

A simple yet a powerful story depicting the bond between a brother and a sister - their purity of heart, their innocence, their playful scuffles and immense love for each other. All these values are beautifully encapsulated in the Iranian film, Children of Heaven. 

Ali, who comes from a simple family, loses his sister's (Zahra) pair of shoes one day, and then sets on a series of adventures to find them.

This simple premise has been narrated in such a beautiful way it moves you deeply. After having lost his sister's pair of sneakers, and with no money to buy a new one, Ali tells Zahra not to worry and suggests they share his pair of shoes until they find hers. 

After school is over, Zahra runs back home to give the shoes to her brother while Ali awaits her return.

One day, Zahra sees a school mate wearing her lost shoes and tries to follow her. She stops chasing her after finding out the girl's father is blind and struggles to get by for himself and the family. The scene gets you teary eyed.

Another interesting shot follows Zahra rushing back home after school one day when suddenly one of her shoes slips into a drainage. The tension created in that scene is palpable. 

Yet another scene is when the kids wash the shoes one day and leave it out for drying overnight so they can wear it to school the next day.

Meanwhile, with their family living hand to mouth, Ali goes with his father in search for some work to the city, knocking every door. Thanks to Ali, they manage to find something that gets them good money. On Ali's request (who still hasn't mentioned it to him about the lost shoes), his father promises to buy both of them a new pair. Unfortunately, an accident on the way back eats into all that they had earned through the day.

A few days later, Ali finds out about a racing competition in school, with the third prize being a pair of shoes. He doesn't care to read the first or the second prize. He only has his eyes on the third. Watch out for what happens next! 

Every scene here is so precious and memorable and when all of them are woven together, this makes for such a delightful film. 

How Ali feels the pain of his family at such a tender age and how he takes care of his little sister at every step reaffirms that sometimes winning heart of our loved ones gives us more happiness. Because that is when we really win!

By Remya Radhakrishnan: Passionate about music. Love to write and share my thoughts, observations and experiences. Find my inspiration from travelling and films like these.

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