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93 of 95 found the following review helpful:
Fascinating story of two children and one pair of shoes. Sep 19, 1999
This movie is a perfect example of how a film can be made beautifully effective without having to resort to raw sex, constant violence, or complicated plots. It is the simple but charming story of two poor children, a brother and a sister, who must share one pair of shoes because the brother, during his walk home from the shoe repair loses his sister's shoes.The loss of the shoes brings on all the difficulties with which they must now cope. The film tenderly shows how they strive toward resolution of their problem. The dialogue is kept minimal, and yet the director has achieved a very solid tension that keeps your eyes glued to the screen from the opening frames till the very end. This film beautifully shows a world of which most Westerners are completley unaware, a world that is so different from our own. The bulk of the film is carried very capably, on the shoulders of two small, young children, and they do a totally magnificant job of making you believe this very lovely, charming, and worthy film. This is the stuff for which Oscars are made.
72 of 73 found the following review helpful:
Wonderful story of a brother's love for his little sister Dec 14, 2002
By Linda Linguvic
This 1997 film is from Iran. And it's the kind of film that the whole family can enjoy. It's about a 9-year old boy who loses his 7-year old sister's shoes through no fault of his own. They are very poor and they both want to keep it a secret from their parents. And so they share his only pair of worn-out sneakers. She wears them to school in the morning, and then runs through the streets, gives him the shoes and he wears them in the afternoon. Such a plan is not without its challenges, however. She almost loses a shoe when it falls into a gutter. He's late for school. The shoes are worn. Both of them crave a pair of their own.
Amir Farrokh Hasherman is cast as the boy. He has the biggest, most expressive eyes I've ever seen and my heart immediately went out to him. Bahare Seddiqi is the little sister. She wears a long dress and a white head covering just like all the other little girls. It's their shoes that show their individuality and she is always looking at all the other little girl's feet. One day she sees a little girl wearing her own lost shoes, but the other little girl is the daughter of a blind beggar. Later, there is a footrace announced in the little boy's school. He finds out that if he wins third prize he can get a new pair of sneakers. The tension mounts.
One of the best things about this film is that it brought me into another culture. This is not about revolution and bombs and sadness. This is just a simple story about the love between a brother and sister. It transcends all cultures, and makes the audience see the humanity of the children. There's one scene where they clean the shoes and blow great big soap bubbles at each other. It certainly is heartwarming. I just wanted to give these children a great big hug.
This is a beautiful film. I highly recommend it.
53 of 56 found the following review helpful:
work of art Jul 23, 2000
By Roland E. Zwick
The wonderful Iranian film, "Children of Heaven," and its companion piece, "The White Balloon", remind one of those great Czechoslovakian films of the 1960's ("The Shop on Main Street" and "Loves of a Blonde" etc.) in that they achieve their artistry by providing keenly observed glimpses into the minutiae of everyday life. They also help to humanize a culture often regarded as alien and even incomprehensible to western eyes. Above all, this magnificent film reminds us that real drama comes not in the form of overplotted special effects laden extravaganzas, but from films that examine the universal simplicities of life as we all know it. When it is distilled through the eyes of a poet - this is when art is achieved.
"Children of Heaven" has its roots planted firmly in the neorealist tradition. Its simple story echoes not merely the earlier "The White Balloon" but the original Italian classic, "The Bicycle Thief." In this film, young Ali accidentally loses his sister's recently mended shoes; out of this tale of utmost simplicity, the filmmakers take us on a fascinating tour of life in a typical Iranian village and family. As Ali and his sister scheme to overcome this obstacle, the film touches on any number of universal themes: the close ties of siblings united in their common bond of avoiding often irrational parental anger; well meaning, loving parents overwhelmed with the trials of everyday life who are often compelled to act out in ways that seem cruel to the children who adore them; the petty viciousness with which children often strike out at each other, yet, at the same time, the often unexpectant kindness and empathy with which they also treat one another. The film manages to keep the audience constantly engrossed in its action without once resorting to even a smidgen of incredibility or melodrama. Beautifully directed, with a superb soundtrack filled with heightened naturalistic noises, it is a film of many-splendored wonders, its lyricism caught in a glimpse of soap bubbles floating around a backyard produced by two children abandoned to their moment of incomprehensible youthful joy, its high drama found in a shoe racing down a city sewer with a desperate young girl in tow.
The actors, children and adults alike, underplay their roles in so naturalistic a fashion that one does not even feel they are performing at all; the film, through them, becomes a magical fabric of life that draws the audience deep into its world.
"Children of Heaven" brilliantly demonstrates that works of art often arise from the observation of the most seemingly mundane concerns of daily life and reminds us that this provides far more drama than all the exploding spaceships, car chases and hyperkinetic melodrama that flood the screen in the guise of entertainment. It certainly shows just how phony, empty and bereft of life most American films are. Don't miss "Children of Heaven"! It is a richly rewarding experience.
20 of 21 found the following review helpful:
The best movie that I've ever seen. Aug 12, 2000
By Daniel Ruiz
I bought this movie without knowing what to expect, I have never been touched by a movie so much before. Forget Titanic, this is as real as love gets. The story however does not have the same concept as love between two strangers; in this case, it is about love between a brother and his little sister. The little boy looses her sister's shoes; they are so poor that the parents cannot afford to buy a new pair for her. They decide to keep it a little secret between them. The little boy feels so sad that he lost her sister's shoes, so he is determined to recover them; he does everything possible so her little sister is happy. Throughout the movie you can see the incredible amount of love that they have among each other. The movie takes place in Iran, so the movie is subtitled in English. But you do not have to look at the words at the bottom of the screen to understand what the message of the movie is. I recommend this movie to anyone. It will touch you so deeply inside your heart.
13 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Boy loses shoe. Boy must find shoe. Oct 20, 1999
What a wonderful, gentle movie! It's great to feel that you've seen something that actually shows real people's feelings, that doesn't condescend to overstatement to make sure the audience 'gets' it. The acting is sincere and believable. You truly feel for the tragedy a lost shoe can be in a family with no money to replace it. The struggles the young boy goes through to find it are hard for us to fathom here, where poverty doesn't look quite the same as poverty in other places.
A Wonderful Film!!
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