Children of Heaven (1997)
Floor Manager's rating: 6/10
This 1997 Iranian film exuded good values and celebrated the spirit of understanding between a good-hearted sister and brother. He tries to make amends after he loses her only pair of shoes and she in turn, loyally does not tell their parents.
While most of us found this a charming film, similar to Bicycle Thief, others found the children’s situation of being trapped in poverty to be very sad. This led us to tell some of our family histories of poverty and how one pair of shoes could be shared around the children.
We liked the way the children were helped along the way by others. A little girl who appears to have Zahra’s old shoes is seen in the context of having a blind father and we see her helping him. The girl with what appears to be Zahra’s shoes, also comes to the rescue when Zahra’s special pen is lost. Good deeds abound, as well as fateful incidents. Even a compassionate teacher helps when Ali arrives at school once too late, because of the daily shoe-swap.
The gardening scene felt like a fantasy, but gave a glimpse into an idyllic life which came with more money. The race scene at the end divided us, with some thinking it was thrilling and some feeling it was long drawn out, including unnecessary slow motion.
We discussed the symbol of the goldfish at the end and the way a goldfish bowl is always on the table for the New Year festival of Nowruz.
A short film we showed about a gay young man from the Egyptian culture was fascinating.
We look forward to seeing more Iranian films during our film festival weekend.