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Children of Heaven (1997)
"Bacheha-Ye aseman" (original title)

 -  Drama | Family  -  22 January 1999 (USA)
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 20,299 users  
Reviews: 122 user | 43 critic

After a boy loses her sister's pair of shoes, he goes on a series of adventures in order to find them. When he can't, he tries a new way to "win" a new pair.

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Title: Children of Heaven (1997)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mohammad Amir Naji ...
Ali's Father (as Amir Naji)
...
Ali (as Mir Farrokh Hashemian)
...
Zahra
Nafise Jafar-Mohammadi ...
Roya
Fereshte Sarabandi ...
Ali's Mother
Kamal Mirkarimi ...
Assistant (as Kamal Mir Karimi)
Behzad Rafi ...
Trainer (as Behzad Rafiee)
Dariush Mokhtari ...
Ali's Teacher
Mohammad-Hasan Hosseinian ...
Roya's Father
Masume Dair ...
Roya's Mother
Kambiz Peykarnegar ...
Race Organizer
Hasan Roohparvari ...
Race Photographer
Abbas-Ali Roomandi ...
Shoemaker
Jafar Seyfollahi ...
Green Grocer
Qolamreza Maleki ...
Salt Seller
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Storyline

Zahra's shoes are gone; her older brother Ali lost them. They are poor, there are no shoes for Zahra until they come up with an idea: they will share one pair of shoes, Ali's. School awaits. Will the plan succeed? Written by Eileen Berdon <eberdon@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

shoe | school | race | gardening | class | See All (122) »

Taglines:

A Little Secret...Their Biggest Adventure!

Genres:

Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Children of Heaven  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$180,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,100 (USA) (22 January 1999)

Gross:

$925,402 (USA) (21 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Iranian film to receive nomination for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film of the Year). See more »

Connections

References The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wholesome 100% natural cinematic staple -- well-leavened and savory!
16 February 1999 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

This translates to MUST-SEE! It's a credulous incredible storytelling of a young brother and sister in Tehran, and the adventurous saga around one very important pair of sneakers.

The two young actors are amazing -- they play their guileless naïve sensitivity with such earnestness! Central character, Ali, the 9 year old brother, is Mir Farrokh Hashemian, who really carried the film with his legwork, and the younger sister Zahra is Bahareh Seddiqui, who contributed her restrained share of screen presence. The pair is so natural: those furrowed faces, anxious knitted brows -- the range of sad faces the two came up with! The bond between the brother and sister is so warm and joyful - in spite of misfortunes.

The storyline is seemingly simple. Such story-weaving knack writer-director Majid Majidi has -- he can make chasing along a streaming gutter into an intense dramatic episode! The story has the texture likened to a Thomas Hardy novel (poverty setting, episode after episode, turn of events), yet such a relishingly simple delivery. He doesn't have to tell it all on the screen -- little nuances and observations suffice.

It's heartening to see young children who are polite and respectful to their elders, responsible and caring in dealing with their everyday problems, and not give up -- such quiet fortitude in spite of disappointments, such tolerance of their circumstance yet still able to find joy in little things. We catch a smile here and there, e.g., when they enjoy the impromptu soap bubbles, or when he encouraged his sister by giving her small tokens.

This is an absolute gem of a family (value) film. Children's emotions untapped, yet adults are not left out -- touches of grown-up connections: the parents, the elderly couple next door, the shop-owners, all made this world very real.

The camerawork, and the well-designed use of sound mixed with accompanying music (different tonal quality instruments were applied) complemented this cinematic experience. A poetic ending -- there's a serenity about it all.

I hope "Children of Heaven" will win this year's 71st Academy Award Best Foreign Film Oscar -- it will receive its due exposure and more people will experience this gem.

Along the lines of poverty and shoes, I thought of the Italian 1978's "The Tree of the Wooden Clogs" by writer-director Ermanno Olmi. And, on a story with substance and good acting by an Iranian young boy, there's 1989's "Bashu, The Little Stranger", by writer-director Bahram Beizai. Both are movies to be appreciated.


48 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
More movies like this............... . jayakriss
How come Ali starts school about the same time of day Zhara finishes harland-ncl
It should be on top 250 ummaguumma
where did the father get the money for new shoes? bentley1530
why didn't Ali wait right outside the school..?? lalit-iit
Majidi's tribute to 'The Bicycle Thief' ?? prathul2002
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