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Mohammad, a boy at Tehran's institute for the blind, waits for his dad to pick him up for summer vacation. While waiting, he realizes a baby bird has fallen from its nest: he chases away a cat, finds the bird, climbs a tree, and puts it back. His father finally comes and takes him to their village where his sisters and granny await. The lad is a loving student of nature and longs for village life with his family, but his father is ashamed of him, wanting to farm the boy out to clear the way for marriage to a woman who knows nothing of this son. Over granny's objections, dad apprentices Mohammad far from home to a blind carpenter. Can anything bring father and son together?Written by
Selected as Iran's submission in the Best Foreign Film category for the 2000 Oscars. See more »
Our teacher says that God loves the blind more because they can't see. But I told him if it was so, He would not make us blind so that we can't see Him. He answered "God is not visible. He is everywhere. You can feel Him. You see Him through your fingertips." / Now I reach out everywhere for God till the day my hands touch Him and tell Him everything, even all the secrets in my heart.
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Majid Majidi, director and writer of the much-acclaimed "The Children of Heaven" has again proven to the world that he is able to demonstrate weighty ideas through simple depictions of everyday life in Iran. He shows audiences that his country is not just a place where reform movements, revolutions, and embassy seizing take place; but also where beautiful films are made. His new motion picture; "The Color of Paradise" is a real treat. It is about faith and belief, unconditional love and compassion, hardship and hope; and is both powerful and effective.
The lead character is a blind 8-year-old boy named Mohammad (Mohsen Ramezani). He is filled with compassion and has unlimited abilities to reach out to the world around him. Mohammad attends a school for the blind in Tehran. The school is closing for the summer and students are being sent home to their parents; most of them eagerly await their kids at the front gate just outside their dormitories. Hashem (Hossein Mahjub), Mohammad's father, is not eager to see him. In fact, he shows up so much later than everyone else that Mohammad had almost lost hope of ever seeing him again.
While waiting for his dad, the 8-year-old boy, although filled with anguish, did not shut himself down from the outside world. He successfully rescues a baby bird, climbs a tree, and returns it to its nest. All despite his inability to see.
Mohammad's dad finally shows up and requests that the school keep his son. Being told that this is not possible, he reluctantly takes the boy home.
This is where writer director Majid Majidi's cinematic brilliancy comes into play. His ability to let the audience experience both the visually impaired and visually unimpaired worlds without ever abandoning one for the other is simply remarkable. We can see and feel both, the beauties of the boy's surroundings, and his own world where touching and hearing replace seeing.
The photography is breathtaking as father and son trek home from the busy streets of Tehran into traders' and jewelry shops, then to the green mountains and fertile plains in the heights of northern Iran. Mohammad's arrival spurs bursts of joy from his Granny (Salime Feizi), the matriarch and surrogate mother since his mom passed away; and his two sisters (Elham Sharifi and Farahnaz Safari) with genuine angelic smiles. They are happy to see him, as they are ready to share an active farm life with him.
Mohammad's admiration for nature is almost addictive; whether it's walking through fields of flowers, or running his hand over ripening grain, or having fresh water running through his fingers, or hearing birds' songs, a donkey braying or examining the sound of a gathering storm; he literally finds the patterns of Braille in everything around him. Sounds like a loveable kid? Not so, according to his dad's needs. For him, the blind son is a burden, which prevents him from moving on with his life, and marrying a younger woman. Hashem is not a malevolent man. He is an impoverished, fast-aging, widowed, spiritually blind, hard-working charcoal maker who sees very little hope with the status quo. So despite the staunch opposition of his mother, he is determined to send Mohammad off to a blind carpenter for woodworking apprenticeship. But is he ready to bear the consequences of acting against Granny and the universal laws that govern the relationship between a parent and his offspring?
"The Color of Paradise" takes viewers on an incredible journey of faith and love and creates a masterpiece of emotion that is so beautiful in its simplicity and elegance it touches one's heart. It is done without forcing anything on the audience until the very last frame. This film does not preach. And it does not need to; its richness lies in its ability to portray basic elements of nature in their ordinary state. In places where Hollywood counterparts would have inserted blasting soundtracks, this movie simply lets nature echo in the background. Its soundtracks mostly consist of nature's own. In times of great suspense, the sound of nature (not human-made music) helps its audience through the changing moods.
Couple these facts with almost flawless acting, it's hard to compare this film with anything else in its league. It is simply Iranian cinema at its best. Mohsen Ramezani, who plays Mohammad, is excellent. A scene, in which he breaks down in tears over his tribulations and questions God for making his dad not wanting him, is brutally heart wrenching. Mohammad eventually shows us that it is possible to feel God's hand even if one can't see the color of paradise.
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