By Owen Gleiberman
Updated February 05, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST
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Children of Heaven

type
  • Movie

The sentimentalization of poverty doesn’t get much more sticky than in Majid Majidi’s Iranian fable Children of Heaven, set on the wrong side of the Tehran tracks, about a 9-year-old boy who loses his sister’s just-repaired shoes, which he then tries to replace. The plot feels less like a realistic dilemma than it does a willed exercise in neorealist catharsis — a way of inviting Western audiences to bask in their materialist ”empathy.” (You watch the film and think, ”Ah, if only I valued every product I own this fervidly!”) As Ali, the sensitive young hero, Mir Farrokh Hashemian looks like a Keane-eyed moppet and seems to weep on cue in every other scene. There’s a lot of doleful staring in the new Iranian films, but precious little talking; this one seems to be taking place in a world of human lambs. The climax, in which Ali attempts to win those precious sneakers by entering a foot race, is as slow-mo inspirational as anything in Chariots of Fire. Talk about having your economic desperation and eating it, too. C

Children of Heaven

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
director
  • Majid Majidi

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