Children of Heaven

1997 | Drama | 89 minutes | In  Farsi with English subtitles


The Children of Heaven is primarily about Ali and Zahra, a brother and sister, in an impoverished family, who create a big problem  they do not want their parents to know about. They choose to fix it themselves. It starts when Ali takes Zahra’s shoes to the cobbler to be repaired. When the cobbler is finished, he puts them in a black bag and hands it to Ali.  While Ali is buying potatoes at the local market, he puts the bag  on a stone ledge. The garbage collector passing by picks up the bag and throws it into his garage cart.  When Ali discovers the bag gone, he’s beside himself. He has to face Zahra. She’ll be so angry with him. How will she get to school without shoes? Should they tell their parents, who are too poor to buy another pair?  They come up with a plan. Zahra goes to school in the morning and Ali goes in the afternoon. Zahra will wear Ali’s sneakers to school in the morning. After school Zahra will meet Ali on his way to his afternoon class and hand him the sneakers. The plan is flawed as Zahra is often not prompt causing Ali to be late, and risking a reprimand. Another solution develops. There is a local footrace in the community with one of the prizes being a pair of sneakers. The quick-footed Ali enters the race. If he wins, everything will be great. Zahra will receive a real gift: a brand-ne pair of sneakers.

Amir Farrokh Hashemian (Ali) / Bahare Seddiqi (Zahra)
Why Stream This Film?
It’s the quintessential, poignant, heartwarming film about a brother and sister who love each other. Few countries (with the exception, possibly, of Italy) could have made such a film.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Foreign Film
  • Montreal World Film Festival: Winner, Grand Prix
  • Newport International Film Festival: Winner, Best Foreign Film; People’s Choice Award
CHILDREN of HEAVEN is very nearly a perfect movie for children and, of course, that means adults will like it too. It lacks the cynicism and smart-mouth attitudes of so much American entertainment for kids and it glows with a kind of good-hearted purity. To see this movie is to be reminded of a time when the children in movies were children and not miniature stand-up comics. This film is about a brother and sister who love each other.
Roger Ebert

This modestly produced family drama has all the poignancy and humor associated with today’s vibrant Iranian film industry.

The Christian Science Monitor staff

3 Faces 

3 Faces 

Behnaz Jafari is a popular actress in Iran. She sees a video of a young girl, Marziyeh, pleading for help to escape the stifling restrictions of her conservative family…

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