Children of Heaven
|Miramax Films; 88 minutes; unrated|
|Cast:||Amir Naji, Mir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahareh Seddiqi|
Long before Elvis's passionate exhortation of “Don't step on my blue suede shoes” or today's billion-dollar sneaker industry, footwear has been a hot point where fashion, function, and wealth collide. And so Iranian director Majid Majidi's decision to use shoes to explore life and economic injustice in Tehran is particularly apt.
Nine-year-old Ali (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) loses his little sister's only pair of sneakers, and they begin sharing Ali's shoes to avoid adding hardship to their poor parents. The situations that emerge are beautifully rendered, bittersweet observations on everyday Tehranian life and the great disparity between the rich (think fancy sneakers carelessly paraded on the schoolyard) and the poor (not only is Ali's canvas pair falling apart, the ragged shoes don't even fit his sister). While this film is actually lighter than it could have been, excellent cinematography and socioeconomic detail make it well worth watching.