Children of Heaven, is an Oscar nominated Iranian film with English subtitles. An extraordinary piece of filmmaking, Children of Heaven engages people from all backgrounds in revisiting and reflecting on their childhood.

The story concerns a 9-year-old boy Ali, and his 7-year-old sister Zahra, who live with their parents in a one-room flat in the south of Tehran. At the outset, Ali is sent to have his sister’s shoes repaired, but on the way home the repaired shoes are mistakenly taken away by a city rag picker while Ali is dutifully shopping for some potatoes that his mother needs. This establishes the “problem” that drives the rest of the story. Ali is mortified by having lost the shoes, knowing that his family cannot afford to replace them and that he will be severely punished for his error. He and his sister take the only option that appears: since they attend school at different times, they must share Ali’s sneakers, without telling their parents. While a novel arrangement, we know that it is not sustainable and something will have to give.

Children of Heaven is a simple, realistic window into the emotional ups and downs of childhood. It invites us to experience the myriad of fears, dreams and expectations that a child has to navigate through on a daily basis – the desperate need for approval from ‘grownups’, the desire to meet their expectations and the ever-present fear of punishment.

The movie has been selected for screening at TRC for its relevance to the times we live in. In a world of impossible demands and a never-ending series of often-frightening encounters with intolerant adults, this powerful film prompts us to revisit and realize the enormity of every experience for a child, and our role as ‘grownups’ in influencing the impact of those experiences.

Facilitator: Sadiya Azeem
Date: Friday, October 30, 2009
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Venue: TRC
Duration of Film: 90 minutes
Discussion Time: 45-60 minutes
Fee: Rs. 200 per participant