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Various Themes in the Film “Children of Heaven” Essay


Children of Heaven is a film depicting different issues facing the society today. The film is shot in a contemporary Iranian setting. It reflects, among others, moral responsibilities, family ties, and survival using limited resources. There are a number of themes appearing in this movie. In this paper, the author will dwell on three of them.

They include family, urban, and physical boundaries between the rich and the poor. The film makes explicit comparisons between different phenomena in the society. The differences between the rich and the poor, as made apparent in this Mohammad Esfandiari production, are just a tip of the iceberg.

There are many other scenes that portray the reality of life when differing social groups come into contact. To this effect, it appears that the physical boundaries between different social classes in today’s urban setting portray different living conditions (Children of the World).

Children of the World: Thematic Analysis

The Neighborhood

The movie is shot in an authentic setting. It is noted that conventional films depict physical settings with clear geographical positions like living rooms and established architectural designs (Aprilliyanti 9).

However, in Children of Heaven, the shooting is done on streets and in building structures, where the distinctive neighborhood is depicted by homes with single rooms and others in gated communities.

The homes of the rich are separated from the rest of the community with metal gates. Access to these prestigious addresses requires some form of formalities. In contrast, the poor have their homes open. As a result, anyone can access their neighborhood without any difficulties (Children of Heaven)

Most films are characterized by scenes that exhibit dangers interwoven in cities’ way of life. The dangers include, among others, crime, unemployment, class struggles, and exaggerated erotic presentations.

The director of the Children of Heaven appears careful not to subject the characters to danger and pleasure, which are common occurrences in urban settings (Mennel 23). The main character, Ali, is used to drive this point home. He is shown struggling to find the repaired shoes that were picked by a perceived homeless man.

His father is also anxious to make more money to support his family. He tries to achieve this goal by borrowing gardening equipment to work in a rich neighborhood (Children of Heaven). In addition to highlighting the struggles of the have-nots in contemporary urban centers, these scenes depict the relationship between the rich and the poor.

The Theme of Family Ties and Social Networks

In most productions, the rich are seen to have an upper hand in the struggle for limited resources. However, the element of social bonding appears to be weak among the wealthy community, where individualism seems to prevail. The case is different in a poor setting.

In such communities, people live in open and closely knit families and neighborhoods. One may argue that the poor need each other for consolation. To this end, the social support between poor residents is stronger than that in gated communities. Mennel (31) confirms that prosperity has widened the gap between the social classes.

The poor and the rich view each other suspiciously. The haves are concerned that the have-nots may steal from them. On their part, the poor feel that the rich oppress and exploit them to support their lavish lifestyles.

The two sets of neighborhoods highlight the differences among the supposedly homogenous young generation. Such variations can be seen when Ali and his father are walking along the pavement in search of gardening work. In the background, children are seen playing and riding bicycles (Children of Heaven).

In the poor neighborhood, children make use of whatever they can lay their hands on to play games. On the contrary, children from rich families are provided with expensive paraphernalia to play with. What this means is that the divide between the poor and the rich is not limited to the adult population. Their children appear to take their parents as role models.

Some people argue that children from poverty stricken areas are more understanding compared to those living in well established homesteads. For example, when Ali notices the situation of the garbage man who accidentally took Zahra’s shoes, he decides to leave.

The poor man, who is also blind, picked the shoes and gave them to his daughter, Roya. Zahara spotted Roya with the shoes in school and later asked Ali to help her confront the family on their way home. It is then that they found Roya is the daughter of a poor garbage collector (Children of Heaven).

Ali and her sister are so close and they work together to solve their problems. This is seen when Zahra’s shoe is lost. They agree not tell their mother who don’t have money even to pay the debt for five months they owe the landlord.

While doing their homework, the sibling pass notes to each other planning what to do about the shoe. Although Ali’s father does not have working equipments, he is able to borrow his fellow neighbor, something that is lacking in wealthy homes (Children of Heaven).

Urban Isolation

Urbanization is well depicted in the movie. The theme is seen when Ali and her sister running and walking through buildings and doing their leisure in the alleys. The children of the rich do their play in the pave streets. Their homes share the same vicinity with the rich community and the kind of interaction depicted is apparent.

For instance, Ali’s father in search for a gardening Job in the rich neighborhood, he walks on carefully paved streets with gates equipped with call box for communication to avoid face to face contact (Children of Heaven).

In urban setting, everything is isolated as seen in the family set up. There are high walled fences that separate each family in a wealthy setting. The children in urbanized areas are given what they want regardless of their behavior. Ali is given a mere pen with his teacher upon good performance.

In this context, it is worth asking which of the two environments are perfect for nurturing children talents. A good answer can be cited in the winning race Ali participated to secure a price of a pair of shore for her sister (Children of Heaven).


The author of this paper has analyzed the film Children of Heaven in different contexts. It has emerged that neighborhood is changing phenomena in relation to wealth.

As one acquires wealth the more a social dynamic difference is created. Children living in poor neighborhood have their environment more enriching than their counterparts. The scenario is seen in Ali’s achievements both in class and in athletics.

Works Cited

Aprilliyanti, Retino. An Analysis of Moral Value in Film “Children of Heaven”, Iran: Institute Keguruan Publishers, 2011. Print.

Children of Heaven. Ex. Prod. Amir Esfandiari and Mohammad Esfandiar. Iran: Miramaz Films. 1998. DVD.

Mennel, Barbara. Cities in Cinema, London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2008. Print.

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"Various Themes in the Film “Children of Heaven”." IvyPanda, 7 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/various-themes-in-the-film-children-of-heaven-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Various Themes in the Film “Children of Heaven”." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/various-themes-in-the-film-children-of-heaven-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Various Themes in the Film “Children of Heaven”'. 7 May.

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