EW Staff
September 17, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Intrigued by reports that Iranian movies are where it’s at in the ’90s, but timid about taking that first step toward the exploration of an unfamiliar culture? Think of this charming crowd-pleaser — about a young boy from an impoverished family who loses his sister’s only pair of shoes — as a set of training wheels, acclimating you to the more languid pace while avoiding the philosophical complexity found in the works of heavyweights like Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The rousing finale, in which our hero struggles valiantly to finish third in a footrace (third prize being a pair of shoes), makes Chariots of Fire look sluggish in comparison. B+

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