Iranian director Majid Majidi's fourth feature is a more ambitious production than his charming CHILDREN OF HEAVEN. It's also a darker and more troubling film; the surprisingly tragic climax may make it rough going for kids too young to grasp the film's comforting message.
Mohammed (Mohsen Ramezani) is an 8-year-old blind boy who travels with his poor, widowed father Hashem (Hossein Mahjub) to the Iranian countryside, where the boy is to spend the summer vacation with his sisters (Elham Sharim, Farahnaz Safari) and beloved Granny (Salime Feizi). His father hopes to
marry a young woman from the village (Masoomeh Zeinati), but worries that Mohammed will prove to be a discouraging burden. Hashem, whose boundless bad luck is matched only by his self-pity, also sees no sense in keeping his son in school, reasoning that it would be more practical to apprentice
Mohammad to a blind carpenter (Morteza Fatemi), even if it means tearing the child from his idyllic life with the family he loves. Shot in the spectacular countryside of northern Iran, the film is a riot of color; the brilliant reds, yellows and violets of the wildflower-filled meadows work their
way into the bright clothing of Granny and her granddaughters. But not far beneath the gorgeous surface lies Hashem's festering bitterness, embodied in the grim, ashy coal fields where he works, and Mohammed's own doubts. At a pivotal moment of the film, Mohammad remembers how he once told his
teacher that God couldn't possibly love the blind; if he did, he wouldn't have denied them the opportunity to ever see him. "God is not visible," the teacher replied. "But you can feel him with your fingertips." It's a touching moment, delivered with poignant awkwardness by the very young and
untrained Ramezani, and realized in the film's final moment as a lovely, spiritually transcendent grace note.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: PG
- Review: Iranian director Majid Majidi's fourth feature is a more ambitious production than his charming CHILDREN OF HEAVEN. It's also a darker and more troubling film; the surprisingly tragic climax may make it rough going for kids too young to grasp the film's co… (more)