As one of most successful Middle-Eastern films, the impact of Children of Heaven continues to resonate even 20 years later. Directed by Majid Majidi and shot in the city of Tehran, the film follows a young boy named Ali and his sister Zahra as they search for a new pair of shoes, not wishing to burden their parents, they go on an adventure.
We’re taken through their journey as they go through school, market stalls and the more wealthy suburbs of the surrounding area. At times, it becomes hopeful, but also shows the more disappointing aspects of childhood; it deftly strikes a balance between these tones.
The way Children of Heaven captures a spirit of youth alongside some moving themes of generosity and perseverance in the face of adversity allowed it to strike a chord with foreign audiences. It is the 1st Iranian film nominated for the Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film and many reviewers at the time were impressed the care and attention put into it.
From a modern context, the film relays a theme of innocence and humanity, something which is often tarnished by today’s horrific conflicts. Children of Heaven also creates a window into another culture, exposing audiences to societal differences.
The film was recently added to Netflix in several regions including the United States, France and Sweden; yet despite the movie’s high success, many films produced in Iran and Persia can have a difficult time reaching a wider audience worldwide.
The most recent films to gain greater recognition have been “A Separation” in 2011 and “The Salesman” in 2016 both directed by Asghar Farhadi. These and “Children of Heaven” are well worth a watch not only for local audiences but for anyone worldwide looking to spend a Saturday with an excellent film.
WE SAID THIS: Watch “Children of Heaven” on Netflix.