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“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation Essay

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The world seen through the children’s eyes is full of many difficulties, but there are always solutions to the problematic situations which can be found in close relations with relatives. This world view is followed by Ali and his sister Zahra who are the main characters of Majid Majidi’s Iranian film Children of Heaven (1997).

The story is based on the children’s experiences associated with their desire to find new shoes for Zahra because Ali lost her pair while purchasing potatoes.

This situation makes two little children from the low-income family develop a lot of solutions to overcome the situation and to avoid telling the truth about the loss not to upset the parents (“Children of Heaven”).

In spite of the fact that Ali and his sister Zahra live in poverty in the poor Tehran neighborhoods and their struggles are associated with impossibility to satisfy their basic needs, the film is not about the social issue of poverty, but it is about the power of the familial love and relatives’ support; and these ideas influence the discussion of the social issues in the context of the individuals’ perception, or children’s perception in this case.

Although the film’s plot is rather simple and Majidi relies on the easy cinematographic techniques to represent the main idea, Children of Heaven is complex in relation to the range of issues discussed in the film.

On the one hand, the film represents the struggles of the poor Iranians in detail, while focusing on the example of Ali and Zahra’s family.

Thus, children cannot tell their parents the truth about their loss because the family has no money to afford a new pair of shoes for Zahra, and the parents cannot provide even rent payments or buy an adequate amount of vegetables (“Children of Heaven”).

On the other hand, the film represents these difficulties through the children’s eyes who focus on the care for one another to cope with any social problems which influence the life of their family. As a result, the universal social problem of poverty can be perceived from the perspective of the siblings’ love.

From this point, Majidi does not criticize the society directly, but he draws the audience’s attention to the children’s visions of the situation because Ali and Zahra optimistically try to find solutions to their problems while accepting the situation as it is (“Children of Heaven”).

That is why, the film represents not only the struggles of the poor Iranian children but also purity and innocence of all the siblings who care for each other. As a result, Children of Heaven provides insights into the children’s human nature without references to their identity and background.

To support the film’s message according to which the purity of the children’s relations and perceptions is accentuated, the filmmakers focus on representing a simple plot with the help of several important accents. Much attention should be paid to the opening and final scenes of the film.

The opening scene presents the process of repairing the shoes, and it is rather long and provocative because the audience cannot see the actors’ faces and should focus only on the pair of pink shoes (“Children of Heaven”). The viewer can understand that this object has the significant meaning in the film.

As a result, the pair of pink shoes becomes the symbol because the shoes represent both the loss and demand. These pink shoes occupy the minds of Ali and Zahra because the loss can upset the parents, but the children are able to cooperate to find a lot of solutions how to compensate the loss.

Thus, the symbol of the pair of shoes does not accentuate the bitter taste of the loss, but it emphasizes the sweet taste of the family love.

The final scenes of the film provide viewers with the open ending, but the filmmakers present hints in the form of crosscut shots in which the new shoes can be seen as the gift for children (“Children of Heaven”).

These shots contribute to the film’s idea because they draw the viewers’ attention to the notions of innocence and hope characteristic for Ali and Zahra.

Children of Heaven can also be discussed in relation to the role of location and time factors in conveying the message because the film represents the specifics of the life in the poor Tehran neighborhoods.

Although such ideas discussed in the film as poverty and family relations are universal, the Iranian context adds significantly to the film’s message because differences in the people’s perceptions are accentuated.

Poor neighborhoods are typical for many cities, but only the details of the Iranian family life can provide viewers with the necessary idea about the importance of close and supportive family relations because naïve household difficulties such as the decision to go to school in one pair of shoes are closely connected with moral issues here (“Children of Heaven”).

Moreover, the film’s title contributes to accentuating the morality and purity of innocent Ali and Zahra while discussing them as ‘children of heaven’.

Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven (1997) aims to discuss the complex and universal problem of poverty with references to the specific Iranian context and through the eyes of children.

As a result, the film states that poverty can influence the people’s life significantly, but the moral aspect of the family relations is more significant to make children happy.

Works Cited

Children of Heaven. 1997. Web. <>.

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"“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation." IvyPanda, 18 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/children-of-heaven-the-childrens-focus-on-family-relation-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/children-of-heaven-the-childrens-focus-on-family-relation-essay/.


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IvyPanda. "“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/children-of-heaven-the-childrens-focus-on-family-relation-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/children-of-heaven-the-childrens-focus-on-family-relation-essay/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) '“Children of Heaven”: The Children’s Focus on Family Relation'. 18 June.

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