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CHILDREN OF HEAVEN

SYNOPSIS:
In contemporary Tehran, Ali (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) is sent to have his sisterís shoes repaired. On the way home, he loses them. His sister Zahra (Baharre Sediqqi) is troubled - how will she get to school without her shoes? Afraid to tell their parents, they strike a deal so Zahra will wear Aliís sneakers to school in the morning, then run home so Ali can go to his school in the afternoon. But Zahra finds getting back on time rather difficult, and Ali is soon in trouble at school. Meanwhile, their father (Amir Naji) is looking for more lucrative work, and decides to try his luck as a gardener in the affluent quarter of the city. Can everyoneís problems be solved by Ali winning the third prize - a pair of new sneakers - in a cross-country race?

"Thereís been some remarkable cinema from Iran in recent years (think of films like Under the Olive Trees and Gabbeh) and Majid Majidiís The Children of Heaven continues the tradition. This gentle, warm film is a delight for all ages. This was one of the most popular films at the 1999 Brisbane International Film Festival; but it should translate well to younger audiences too - despite the fact there isnít a computer generated monster to be seen. Donít be put off if someone tells you itís a movie about a pair of shoes. It has little to do with shoes and everything to do with family, love and trust. The fact that Majidi has been able to construct such a compelling and lyrical drama from the initial simple premise of a boy losing his sisterís shoes is a testament to the strength of the screenplay - and an object lesson for screenwriters everywhere. One aspect of the film I found a little disconcerting was the finale, which (in contrast to the balance of the film) seems overly manipulative. But this is a minor cavil in an otherwise beautifully made film. As youíd expect, the cast is quite small, and the film is carried by Mir Farrokh Hashemian as Ali. His performance is consistently genuine - with one particularly memorable scene when he turns up late for school and is confronted by a stern schoolmaster. Baharre Sediqqi is a fine support as Zahra and Amir Naji has a wonderfully subtle role as their father. The Children of Heaven was an Academy Award nominee in the best foreign film category and this, combined with the weight of Miramax, has no doubt contributed to securing it a release in this country. But it probably wonít be around for very long; so donít miss the opportunity to see this charming and moving film."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

CHILDREN OF HEAVEN(M)
Bacheha-Ye aseman
(Iran)

CAST: Mohammad Amir Naji, Fereshte Sarabandi, Karnal Mirkarimi

DIRECTOR: Majid Majidi

PRODUCER: Kevin Costner, Amir Esfandiari, Mohammad Esfandiari, Jim Wilson

SCRIPT: Majid Majidi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Parviz Malekzaade

EDITOR: Hassan Hassandust

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 19, 1999 (Melbourne only; Sydney March 23, 2000)







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