ಬಹಳ ಜನ ಮಾಜಿದ್ ಮಜೀದಿಯ ’Childre of Heaven’ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇದು ಹೀಗೆ ಸೆಲೆಬ್ರೇಟ್ ಮಾಡಲೇಬೇಕಾದ ಸಿನೆಮಾಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದಾದ್ದರಿಂದ, ನನ್ನದೂ ಎರಡು ಅಕ್ಕಿಕಾಳು. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹಳೆಯ ಅಕ್ಕಿ. ಹಿಂದೆ ಎಲ್ಲೋ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಕುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಶ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೆ. ಹಾಗೇ ಹಾಕುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.
Majid Majidi’s Shoes
The excellent Iranian director Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven (Bacheha-Ye Aseman, 1997) is not an ambitious movie. The fact that it is not so, and that it is intentionally so, is what makes it stand out. It needs an able artist to seize a tiny thread of an idea and explicate an engaging piece of art. And one can trust Majidi to do that.
The entire movie is based on a seemingly contrived incident. Ali, a 9 year old kid accidentally loses his 7 year old sister Zahra’s shoes on the way back from the cobbler’s. Zahra cannot go to school without her shoes. But Ali doesn’t want her to report this to their father because he doesn’t have any money to buy new shoes. So, the two young siblings hatch out a plan so that they will save themselves from their father’s wrath and also to avoid adding to his troubles. The movie then moves on a fast track portraying the kids’ little escapades.
What makes the movie outstanding is the careful juxtaposition of different frames, each frame celebrating the different qualities of what makes a poor yet happy and closely bound family. I think this is where Majidi focuses and scores. The acting is very good, of course. One of the lead characters, Ali, who has the most screen time, played by Amir Farrokh Hashemian is very good. But I find Zahra, played by Bahare Seddiqi, better. However, I was most impressed by Mohammad Amir Naji, who plays the role of Ali and Zahra’s father. His chracter and performance is very real.
Children of Heaven is not a movie that will give us a lot of food for thought. It is a kind of movie that will leave behind a longing feeling to see more such movies made that capture our own contexts and lives.
I’ll end this post by talking about one of the several scenes that I particularly liked. The masjid sends sugar to Ali’s father through Ali asking him to break it into small sugar cubes. At night we see Ali’s father cutting the sugar and talking to his family. His wife asks Zahra to serve her father some tea. Zahra pours tea in a cup and brings it to her father. Father thanks Zahra but tells her that she forgot to get sugar. Zahra is a little amused at this. She suggests to her father that “there’s so much sugar here”, which he has been cutting. Why doesn’t he use just one cube? Her father smiles and remarks that it’s not right. The Masjid has given it to him because they trust him. Zahra’s mother promptly asks her get sugar from the kitchen. Scenes like this have been beautifully rendered in the movie celebrating the simple family values and love. A nice engaging 90 minutes.
ಹಿಂದೆ ಮಜೀದಿಯ ಒಂದು ಇಂಟರ್ವ್ಯೂ ಓದಿದ್ದೆ. ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಶ್ ಬರದ ಮಜೀದಯ ಮೊಗ, ಸಂದರ್ಶಕ “ಶೂ” ಎಂದ ತಕ್ಷಣ ಅರಳಿದ ಬಗೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಆ ಶಬ್ದ ಅವನಿಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತು. ಅದು ತೀರಾ ಆಪ್ತ.
Iranian Filmmaker, Majid Majidi welcomed me out on his hotel terrace. His wavy reaching hair, puppy dog eyes, and graying mustache reminded me of Albert Einstein. I framed and focused, “Smile!” I shouted, I was in a good mood. But Majid, peered rather tentatively at the camera. “Smile!” I shouted again, it didn’t occur to me until well into the interview, that Majid knew a completely different word for “Smile.”
“Could you tie your shoe?” I requested. Then he smiled. “Shoe” he knew. That’s the motif his sweet film Children of Heaven runs on … the simple shoe.