Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Children of Heaven

Last Sunday, instead of watching the most boring line-up of finalists of Anugerah Juara Lagu in 21 years, I opted to watch this Iran movie. I've never heard about this movie eventhough it won several accolades in movie festivals. Not for the Oscar, though, and I think that's why Malaysian hardly know about this movie.

A simple plot and story line, not as heavy as Schindler's List and not as sophisticated as Star Wars and not as fictitious as Harry Porter and that's why it didn't win an Oscar, but really touch me and surely will touch many people after watching it.

Children of Heaven is a simple family drama from Iran, two children invent an intricate plan to conceal the loss of a pair of shoes. Ali and his sister Zhara are living in a poor neighborhood. Their mother is suffering from illness and their father is overworked and underpaid.

Ali is given the responsibility of picking up Zahra's shoes from the repair shop, since she needs them to attend school. Ali makes the mistake of setting them down outside a market, and moments later they're swiped by a beggar. Ali and Zahra are convinced that their parents will be furious when they discover the shoes have been lost, since they can't afford a new pair, so Ali gets an idea -- Zahra is scheduled to attend classes in the morning, while Ali goes to school in the afternoon. Zahra can wear Ali's sneakers to school, and she'll trade them off to Ali when he comes in for the afternoon session.

This uncomfortable arrangement leads to one adventure after another as they attempt to hide the plan from their parents and teachers, attend to their schoolwork and errands, and acquire a new pair of shoes for Zahra. But the plan has its flaws because Ali is late to school everyday and his principal threatens to expel him.

In a final act of determination, Ali enters a high-profile children's footrace in hopes of winning the third place prize, a new pair of sneakers. He accidentally places first and wins another prize instead. The film ends with Zahra finding out that she will not get a new pair of shoes. However, a quick shot of their father's bicycle at the end of the movie shows that Zahra and Ali will get pair of new shoes after all.

A friend of mine said to me, what's a big deal watching a story about a pair of shoes. Well, after drowned by love-story movies or Harry Porter-type of movies, you need to watch this with hope that we'll change our perception on foreign movies (I mean ex-Hollywood, ex-Bollywood and ex-Hong Kong-wood). And it's a must-watch for your kids, not simply ask for new pair of shoes just because of little torn, bla bla bla.. you know kids these days.


sity29 said...

i've watched this movie in 2000. Best cite ni... simple but very meaningful.. die cam ada sequel.. tak ingat tajuknya.. tapi but 2 siblings jugak.. but this time pasal ikan emas.. best!!! :)

freelunch2020 said...

hmmmm i like iranian flicks. they are usually good. :D will check it out. tks.

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