Ali

A riveting film about love, family and hope kicked off the PLM-SCA servant’s pastoral formation this summer. Ninang/Ate/Dra. Laarni “Let” Fajardo-Roque led the movie reflection activity with Kuya Chad Riobuya.

This must-watch film is an eye-opener for me to value what really matters in life.

Children of Heaven, a 1997 Iranian family drama film was written and directed by Majid Majidi. It deals with a brother and sister and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes.

Children of Heaven

Triumph prize winner at many prestigious film festivals, this uplifting, crowd-pleasing story of family and love was also moniated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film! When Ali loses his sister Zahra’s school shoes, this young pair dream up a plan to stay out of trouble: they’ll share his shoes and keep it a secret from their parents! But if they’re going to successfuly cover their tracks, Ali and Zahra must carefully watch their step on what rapidly turns into a funny and heartwarming adventure! A magical motion picture acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Children Of Heaven is a charming treat you’ll love, too!

He takes them to the cobbler for repairs, and on the way home, when he stops to pick up vegetables for his mother, a blind trash collector accidentally carries them away.

Of course, the boy, named Ali, is afraid to tell his parents. Of course, his sister, named Zahra, wants to know how she is supposed to go to school without shoes. The children feverishly write notes to each other, right under their parent’s noses.

The answer is simple: Zahra will wear Ali’s sneakers to school every morning, and then run home so that Ali can put them on for his school in the afternoon.

But Zahra cannot always run fast enough, and Ali, who is a good student, gets in trouble for being late to class. And there is a heartbreaking scene where Zahra solemnly regards her own precious lost shoes, now on the feet of the ragpicker’s daughter.

The tale of two children in the movie communicates to us a lot of interesting values that we can somehow say similar to Christian values.

We may be are different in religious beliefs but we are sure that all of us are aiming for peace and tranquility within our community and the whole world at large.

Though the movie is set in an Islamic country yet we share the same values. We, as Christians, may be are biased on looking at Muslim lives as reported by media as any terrorist attack is always associated to them. We should not create a hasty generalization in judging the acts of their fellow because they do not represent the whole.

Majid Majidi’s film has a wonderful scene where Ali and his father bicycle from the almost medieval streets and alleys of the old town to the high-rises and luxury homes where the rich people live. The father hopes for work as a gardener, but he is intimidated by the challenge of speaking into the intercoms on the gates of the wealthy. His son jumps in, with offers of pruning, weeding, spraying and trimming. It is a great triumph.

And then there is a footrace for the poor children of the quarter. The winner gets two weeks in a summer camp and other prizes. Ali doesn’t care. He wants to place third, because the prize is a new pair of sneakers, which he can give to his sister. My guess is that the race and its outcome will be as exciting for many kids as anything they’ve seen at the movies.

“Children of Heaven” is about a home without unhappiness. About a brother and sister who love one another, instead of fighting. About situations any child can identify with. In this film from Iran, I found a sweetness and innocence that shames the land of Mutant Turtles, Power Rangers and violent video games.

This movie has showed me a side of Iran that one cannot learn about in history books. The movie portrayed life in Iran through the eyes of a little kid and the struggles he faces.The movie also showed showed different aspects of Iranian culture such as family structure and value of relationships. The father was seen as the one responsible for providing food for the family. The little girl would help the mother with preparing food and taking care of the baby. I was also able to see the Ta’arof in Iranian culture through offering food to the old and sick neighbors, and even “pretending” to refuse money after the gardening services were offered. The father took the money only after the old man insisted on it.The wide gap between the haves and the have nots have been very beautifully potrayed.

The entire story revolves around one pair of lost pink color worn out shoes.

It makes me realize that each of us in the world is responsible when a kid suffers to get basic necessities of life.

Many a times we throw money frivolously and seldom realizing that there are millions of children dying from hunger with one set of clothes battling and surviving through life.

It’s a moving story about the universal bonds of family as well as the specific circumstances of a poor family trying to make ends meet in Iran. The climax of the film is exciting reinterpretation of the “comeback kid” sports movie, and it takes many unanticipated twists and turns.

This was the first Iranian film to earn an Academy Award nomination, and with good reason. The themes and characters are universal and the story is as exciting as it is poignant. Children of Heaven is one of those magical films that breaks down perceived barriers and differences between cultures, an enlightening and entertaining cinematic journey.

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