Kiarostami exposes some of the hardships of being a young student in Iran. With a few simple shots and a few basic questions, he manages to sketch out both the problems and the joys of childhood.
Kiarostami (playing himself, or simply "playing director") sets up his camera for a few days in a grade school in order to find out about children and their attitudes and struggles with homework. Kids of every personality (from hyper to shy, bragging to quiet) all felt the need to lie about the importance of homework in their life. We laugh each time a young interviewee tells a small fib and says they prefer the difficulty of their homework to watching cartoons after school. But often the truth of the matter is they reason they struggle with their homework is because both parents might be illiterate, or older brothers and sisters provide little support as well. Homework often takes a back seat to the reality of life for these children who are torn between the obligations of being a child and the obligations of being an active member of a family struggling to make ends meet.
An excellent little film - hard-going for the the impatient moviegoer who might need EVERYTHING spelled out for him/her, but for the rest of us, it's a joy to pull out the many meanings and truths embedded in this film.
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