Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Children of Heaven

This movie that has won a lot of awards is about two siblings who belong to a very poor family. The story takes place in Tehran, Iran and was filmed in 1997. The main characters of the story are Ali; which was played by Amir Farrokh, and Ali’s sister, Zahra which played by Bahare Seddiqi and both of them are still schooling but still need to help their parents to do chores because their mother just had a new baby and their father is still working . The movie started with Ali taking Zahra’s shoe to the shoemakers because apparently her shoe is getting worn. But he accidentally loses Zahra’s shoe on the way back to their house. The shoe is the only shoe that Zahra had and she uses that shoe to go to school everyday. Ali tries a few times to find Zahra’s shoes but failed every time. As the consequence of all the things that happened, it forces Ali and Zahra to exchange the pair of Ali’s shoe everyday in order to make it comfortable for Zahra to go to the school.

The scene of both of them changing the shoe repeated quite a few times. The scenes show how everyday Zahra has to run as fast as she could when the school ended in order to have Ali wear it to the afternoon school. In these couple of scenes, few adventures have to be faced by both Zahra and Ali because as we know it ain’t easy for two kids to share the same shoe to school. Both Zahra and Ali need to face their teachers and need to make few lies in order to keep the secret close from being known by their parents.

In some part in the middle of the movie shows how Zahra saw her missing shoe on a girl’s foot. Zahra followed the girl and found out where the girl lives. After that, she called Ali to go with her to find out what does really happen. Eventually, they knew that the girl has done nothing wrong. And when the girl has helped Zahra once, Zahra and the girl become friends.

In a part where almost at the end of the story, shows that Ali enters a footrace. The prize that catches the attention of Ali is the prize for the third place. When the race is on, Ali do manage to be at the front and he tries his best to maintain his position. Finally Ali manages to maintain the third place but unfortunately, Ali were pulled down by a boy. Not to admit the defeat, Ali raises and once again tries his best. Probably the thinking of desperately need to win in his mind, causes Ali to forget that he needs to get the third place. Finally after quite a long way towards the end, Ali manages to finish up his race and he “accidentally” wins the first place.

The story ended with the showing of dissatisfied Ali and the frustrated Zahra. But their sadness will probably be cured because at one scene before the movie ended, shows two pair of shoes on their father bicycle which can be assume one is for Ali and one is for Zahra.

This movie does have good moral values such as the love from brother towards his sister, as we can see the love from Ali towards Zahra, I can see that the brother really loves his sister from the way he treats her even though sometimes Zahra do gets on Ali’s nerves. Zahra in contrast, is more childish compared to her brother. Even though she does understand the situation of their family, she sometimes kind of forgets about that considering that she’s still small.

Second thing I can extract from the movie is the survival of the people from the poverty. This movie shows that not all of the people can afford to live in wealths or even in the moderate way. These people need to survive and they need to do everything in order to live one day without even need to starve. In the movie we can somehow really see the huge gap between the rich people and the poor people. This shows when the movie is focusing to the streets of the place where Ali and Zahra live. There are still people who do the rough jobs in order to survive. Even the father of the children needs to find new ways to provide more comfortable life for his family. The gap of these people really shows when Ali and his father go to the town to find some job as gardeners. The houses of the rich people are really big compared to the houses in the poorer city in example, their hometown. Their ways of living also do show the real gap between them. Children in the rich family can afford to buy some good toys while the children from the poor family can’t even afford to buy any toys. The children from the poor family even need to work in order to help improving the quality of their life while the richer kids need not to work at all.

The third thing that catches my attention is the way how the innocent children act. They are a good kids who willing to help their parents in every aspects. They’re willing to sacrifice their young life in order to help their family. They even are willing not to burden their parents more even though they have to face difficulties in their life. Just because of the working father and the ill mother, Ali and Zahra do willing to do house chores for their parents. They even sacrificed their own time of playing with their friends just because they knew that their parents need them. Ali also does follow his father to the city to work together with him. Zahra help her mother by doing house chores such as making tea for her father. This shows how they really care to do sacrifices for their parents.

This movie is a movie which doesn’t really require us to think but in some ways it does have something that will make us to think more. Even though the plot ain’t that complicated but somehow the main focus of the story is the children. The director simply put the story from viewpoint of a child. It is easy to understand yet have a really deep meaning for us, the adult, to think the way the children think.

The ending of the movie in some way, do make us think too. At first I thought that the ending was really bland because in such a sudden, the movie ended. But probably that’s the way the director wants us to be. Probably he wants us to think what does really happen when the director only shows the part where their father bringing home two pair of shoes. We might have guessed that those shoes are for the kids or probably the other way round. In some way, this is one of the specialties of the movie.

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