About Mirror of My Self

Self is God. Self is Guru. Self is Everything.

This blessed mirror reflects nothing but the Self of my Beloved Brother, my Highest Gurudeva and my Spiritual Father. Whatever you see, read and experience in this blog are only from Him, through me, for you, my dear visitor.

This slave is taking immense pleasure in welcoming you to experience my Self in all its glories!

Shree Rama Jayam.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

Children of Heaven


Have you ever thanked God for watching a movie? For the first time in my life I did. My heart, unconsciously, thanked Krishna for making me fortunate to watch a spellbinding, neorealist-style, Iranian film, Children of heaven (a.k.a. Bacheha-Ye aseman) written and directed by Majid Majidi. Recently, I was swept away by watching this beautiful, compelling and fascinating film about two children, Ali and Zahara, and their lost pair of sneakers.


The movie begins to a close-up take of a cobbler mending a tattered pair of sneakers. As the experienced hands work on the pink coloured sneakers, the titles appear. Though I didn't have a single idea about the film, I was highly impressed from this very first shot, which creates a mesmeric effect and sets the tone for the whole film.


Then, we see Ali, a desolate looking boy, paying the cobbler and heading to market place to fulfill the chores entrusted by his sick mother. In a vegetable stand, unknowingly, a blind peddler swipes away the sneakers, the only pair his sister Zahara has got for wearing to school. Desperately Ali searches in vain. Knowing that this loss would burden their parents, who are eking out a meager living, Ali asks Zahara to conceal it from them. He concocts a plan and decides to share his canvas shoes, promising his sister to find a solution as soon as possible. Zahara wears the canvas shoes to school in the morning. When the school gets over, she comes back running to a deserted street corner, where Ali eagerly waits. They exchange their shoes, and then Ali hastens to his school, which begins late afternoon. The going (running?!) gets worse… until Ali seizes an opportunity to participate in a marathon race, where by coming third he can win a brand new pair of sneakers and gift it to his sister, who bore the brunt of the loss(from his point of view). Will he win and gift Zahara? For that you have to watch the film, and see how on this seemingly simple premise Iranian Filmmaker Majid Majidi crafts a wonderful, heart warming film about a family in Tehran, though trodden by poverty is richly gifted with moral values, familial love and most of all two innocent, selfless angels, Ali and Zahara.


What I loved and inspired me was the way the children shoulder the burden for their parents. Ali understands the gravity of the loss and takes complete responsibility for it. He gives his valuable belongings to console his worrying sister. And (literally) runs for her throughout the film. On the other side, we see Zahara's hearty smile turning into tears as she discovers about the sneakers. But without making any fuss she seeks for a solution. Though reluctant about the shoe-swapping plan, she sincerely follows it, and endures all the hardships for his brother without disclosing the truth to their parents. Yeah... she gets frustrated and blames Ali often, but the realization of her family's financial situation and brother's loving gifts makes her smile even amidst the predicament.


Their exemplary performance will tug at your heartstrings. Their emotions are sincere. Their smiles are angelic. Their plight is genuine. Their determination is remarkable. In all, they are children of heaven.


Ali's father is hard working but unskilled. He is so truthful and honest that he doesn't even take a teaspoon sugar from the sugar cubes, entrusted by the Mosque, spread in front of him, while the tea is served (one of the brilliant scenes in the film). Here, he unconsciously sets an example for his children.


Majid Majidi has the knack of creating a masterpiece from the most trivial things (at least we think so!) of life. He has achieved something what all the mega-budget, technically flaunting, big name movies mostly fail to do. He moves your heart. Leaves you with characters etched in your memory. And very subtly (read powerfully) asserts LESS IS MORE!


The film has no special effects, no mind-boggling sets, no exotic locations, no skimpy dressed women, no gun trotting villains and fiercely chasing heroes (add to them all the must-haves of our stereotype movies) and yet keeps you hooked for an hour and half. Majid Majidi captures the otherwise mundane life with such a beauty, innocence and warmth. The scenes where Ali and Zahara, without their parent’s knowledge, secretly pass notes to one other, and blow bubbles from soap foams, while washing the dirty canvas, will simply fill your heart with joy and will leave you speechless.


The director brings you to the edge of the seat when Zahara’s shoe slips and falls into an open gutter. He shows the rich-poor division when Ali and his father set out for gardening job in the city. Top of it all, he blows away your mind in the suspenseful, breathtaking and remarkable marathon race – the grand finale!


It is one of those rare films that transcend barriers and strike an emotional chord in your heart. Though the film is set in Tehran, like all good movies, it is universal in its appeal. The film is a visual poetry. Majid Majidi has weaved the story through visuals. Even without subtitles you can enjoy the film and be moved by it.


The editing and camera work perfectly in favour of the story. The only complain I have about the movie is the background score, which is good but not excellent. The film’s ending is also as poetic as the beginning – Ali dips his sore, worn-out feet in a pond, and beautiful golden fishes come to caress those tiny selfless feet.


Still, if you're not convinced with me or have not yet seen the film, watch it, then you'll really know why my heart thanked God!

33 comments:

Moon said...

prosecute the KID-KILLERS

manivannan said...

@Moon

Have you commented for this post?

venus66 said...

Thank you my fren. A good one. Maybe i should watch. Take care.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Mani :)

This is one of the best comments I've read so far about a movie. So many lessons to learn in one single movie.

I suppose poverty is indeed a blessing in disguise because a poor human being experiences the entire range of emotions which a rich person will not.

I am not glorifying poverty but even the worst situation has positive sides to it.

Many thanks for this inspiring post in beautiful words. Congratulations!

Have a wonderful day :)

manivannan said...

@ venus66

Plz if you get chance watch it. Possible watch it with your children Venus, I am sure they will also enjoy the movie. Much thanx for your comment.

take care :)

manivannan said...

I understand sir. You're right, when you say even the worst situation has its own positive sides. Poor people find joy in very simple things of life, where wealthy people mostly don't.

I'm really glad you liked this post. And much thanx for your hearty comment and for sharing your valuable thoughts.

Take care :)

Loke said...

i have heard of this movie but never get to watch. i once wonder what's so good about this movie because i have an acquaintance who loves watching this movie and would cry whenever he/she watches. but after reading ur detailed review and synopsis, i somehow feel poignant.

i would try hunting for this movie and wish there's more movies like this in the market.

renaye
http://renaye.nutang.com

pritha said...

thanks for a review na..

too good review! and about this movie, it is one of the lovely movie which i watched during my college days in our department screening only!!

lovely movie.. the last in the race when he was running, at the last stage we were so nervous praying for him to win!! the movie which i involved the most in my life...

And movie a simple story but taken in an excellent way with the favor of taste.. and even the editing blends with the story.. its actually very nice to read your post and remember the movie!!

Thanks na!! And kids are really from heaven.. the way of adjustment they had and their performance is mind blowing!!

manivannan said...

@ Loke

Welcome here renaye! I am happy this post has created a fresh urge in you to watch this awesome movie :)

If you watch it do let me know your opinion about the film. And it's nice to know the experience of your friend.

Much thanx for dropping by. Do come again.

Cheers!

manivannan said...

@pritha

Hi pabitha!

So you watched this movie in our dept. Cool! I will never forget the movies I had watched in our dept, studio. It's such a wonderful experience... just lying down with friends and watching great movies. Moments to treasure! I would love to be back to our college for that one reason.

And I am really glad you liked the review. Many thanks for your kind words and for remembering me those wonderful moments of college life!

*smiles*

KParthasarathi said...

I have not seen the movie.But your review made my eyes moist.You have brought out the essentials of the picture in a graphic manner bringing before our eyes what the scenes should have been as you saw it.Your wonderful review invests the film,its maker and the actors with rare charm. manivannan, You write so admirably well.Where could one see this film? Thanks a tonne

My wOrLd... said...

hey mani.....
thanks alot for the post.....
i must watch it.....
and you did write it extremely well yaar.....god bless u!!! and those children....
takecare....

manivannan said...

@KParthasarathi

Much thanx for your heartfelt comment sir. I feel honoured. And I am glad that the review has inspired you to watch the movie.

Mostly you can watch these types of movies in film festivals. I am not sure where you can get the DVD of this film. Anyway I will check out and let you know soon sir. Thnx once again for your generous comment.

manivannan said...

@ My wOrLd...

Yeah watch it. I'm sure you will love this film rugma. Let me know your opinion about the film after watching it.

Thanx a lot for your blessings and warm words. I happy to receive them both :)
God bless you too!

*cheers*

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

Hi Mani,

Excellent commentary about an excellent film. I loved this movie as much as you. Its truly a great movie.

Your writing skills are laudable. You've honed them well.

Congrats.

:)

manivannan said...

thanx a lot 'na for your generous comment. I'm happy that you liked the review.

:)

A New Beginning said...

A beautifully written review.Makes one feel the need to watch such a movie with so many lessons stored in it.
Gr8 Job!

manivannan said...

@ A New Beginning

Welcome here! Thanks for your comment. I'm happy that you are inspired to watch the movie :)

Ayesha Parveen said...

Thank you, Manivannan, for this beautiful review of a film I think is equally good. Nice of you to have shared your thoughts with us. Life often brings about a lot of misery and how we react to the pain is very important.

The two children show how we should take one day at a time and make the best of what we get in life.

Best wishes.

manivannan said...

@ Ayesha Parveen

I am glad to know you really liked the review. Yeah...how we react to pain makes the difference. Much thanks for the read and wishes Ayesha.

Kat said...

You've portrayed so well the sprit and essence of this film. And the responsibility of the kids and the honesty of Dad.

Children truly gets influenced by parents and adults.

In this case, I'm influenced by your strong recommendations :))) Will surely see this movie some day.

Deepak said...

Its really good to know that you liked this movie.

There are some good quality world movies like this for FREE download. Check this link
http://deepfoliosys.webng.com/moviepage.html

manivannan said...

@ Kat

Thank you so much Kat for reading all my posts. I feel honoured. And I'm happy to receive your comments after a long time. And am glad to know you liked my recommendation :)) I wish you watch this movie very soon :)

Thanks once again for your kind visit.

Keep blogging

Cheers!

manivannan said...

@ Deepak

Welcome here Deepak! Much Thanx for sharing the link. But when I checked I found the service is unavailable. Has the site URL changed?

Anyway thanx again for dropping by. Hope to see you again!

Cheers!

Sneha said...

after reading your review I make it a point to see the movie.:)
Have a nice day.

manivannan said...

That really makes me happy Sneha :)Thanx for the read.

Take care!

Princess said...

hi friend,

that movie was so very inspiring as you hv mentioned it. a worth watch :D

manivannan said...

@ Princess

Thanks Aiz. I'm glad you enjoyed the movie :)

raj said...

Hi,

Hope you are doing well, i watched this movie in Star movies it was very nice, the children mother was sick so that gal has to take care of work at home and have to attend school i felt very sorry for the children, but its a good movie i think it was awarded with Oscar, if i am not wrong. ok buddy keep on blogging, i congrats for ur time.

bye............

manivannan said...

# raj

hi raj,

Firstly, a warm welcome to my virtual world :) I am fine. I hope the same with you... Thanx a lot for the valuable comment and regards. I forget to mention about the gal and her mother...am happy that you pointed it out here.

This film lost the Oscar to Life is beautiful, a wonderful Italian film. Once again, thanks for your kind encouragement and visit.

I wish to see you again. Do come back :)

*Smiles & wishes*

Whirlwind said...

A beautiful review!! Love such kind of films and will definitely watch it. Sometimes a simple story is what capturs the hearts of the viewers with its thought provoking messages subtly portrayed.

While we are on neo realistic films do watch The bicycle thief. Its an Italian film and very poignant.

manivannan said...

#Whirlwind#

Thank you Swetha for your read and precious comment. I am sure you'll be moved by the movie :-)

And, yeah...I've watched that classic neo-realist film. It's nothing but a MASTERPIECE! And am really glad to know you enjoy such lovely movies :-)

Happy watching friend!

WarmSunshine said...

that's gona be my movie for the weekend :)

thanks for sharing the link mani!