One of the most successful Iranian films in the West, Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. It opens with eight-year-old Ali losing his younger sister Zahra’s newly repaired shoes. To avoid admitting this loss to his father, Ali and Zahra share a pair of sneakers, and much of the film revolves around their attempts to manage their exchange without being late for school.
The importance of shoes is emphasized when hundreds are depicted lined up outside a mosque, where the children’s father works serving tea, while their owners pray inside. Scenes in which the camera often focuses on the feet of the children running through the often cramped streets of poor, southern Tehran strikingly contrast a sequence set in the upscale, northern part of the city, where Ali proves much more capable than his father of communicating with the wealthy, coming to entertain a privileged boy while his father sprays trees in a spacious garden.
Finally, Ali enters a race in which third prize is a pair of shoes, but ends up disappointed when he comes in first. Children of Heaven is a melodrama, and Majidi uses slow-motion and emotive music, among other devices, to ensure audience empathy with his young characters. The film’s English title substitutes “Heaven” for “Sky,” a more literal translation from the Persian.
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 1997, Genre – Drama, Country – Iran, Language – Persian, Producer – Amir Esfandiari, Director – Majid Majidi, Music Director – Keivan Jahanshahi, Cast – Mohammad Amir Naji ,Mir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahareh Sedighi, Nafiseh Jafar Mohammadi ,Fereshteh Sarabandi ,Kamal Mirkarimi, Behzad Rafi ,Dariush Mokhtari ,Mohammad Hassan Hosseinian ,Masumeh Dalir, Zahra Mezani ,Kazem Asgharpour ,Mohammad Hossein Shahedi, Seyyed Ali Hosseini