Children of Heaven

Children of Heaven











Children of Heaven

The society and cultural practices depicted in Majid Majidi’s film Children of Heaven encompass a lifestyle that is spread in abject poverty as majorly evidenced by the main actors and the various situations they interact with. The economic welfare of the community in terms of dressing and living structures evidences the societal classes present in the film majorly amplified by the contrast between the wealthy and the underprivileged (Sadr, 2006). Additionally, the menial types of jobs filmed in the movie offer further theme development of the deficient nature of the community.

Zahra and Ali are modestly dressed children throughout the film, especially on their schooling periods. They both have school bags and other items required for study. However, Majid cleverly points out the fact that shoes in the given society are accorded high esteem as luxury items (Tapper, 2002). Zahra and Ali each own a single pair of shoes, which are accorded special care and treatment attributed to their value. Zahra’s shoes are first introduced in the film during Ali’s shopping trip where both children cry over their loss and resolve the issue by approving a sharing arrangement. Inferentially, the two siblings decline to involve their parents in the problem as they have an understanding of the monetary crisis that the family is being faced with. Shoes are so rare in the society such that Zahra is able to identify her lost pair from another student.

Another instance that amplifies the worth attached to the shoes is the symbolic use of the item as an award for excellence. Zahra’s friend is rewarded with purple shoes by her father upon excelling in her studies. The third prize in the inter-school racing contest comprises of a camping retreat and most importantly a pair of shoes. The latter aspect acts as the impetus for Ali’s participation in the contest with an aspiration of winning the third prize that would aid in a replacement of the lost pair. In terms of housing, the structures in which the children live in are quite pitiable with the environment laden with dusty and water laden allies that are a common occurrence in semi-permanent settlements and slums (Tapper, 2002). This is in sharp disparity to the housing in Tehran, which is inhabited by an affluent class of individuals.

Ali’s father works as a gardener and cultivator and both jobs are unskilled practices that command scanty earnings. He has to travel to Tehran on a badly maintained bicycle that leads to a mishap attributed to the faulty braking system. The writer also mentions that the farming opportunity arise after various unsuccessful attempts undeniably due to the high demand for such jobs by the poor individuals. Zahra’s friend turns out to be the daughter of the blind individual who unintentionally picks up Ali’s bag containing his sister’s shoes by erroneously placing it for a trash bag. His job is therefore trash collections. Zahra’s shoes have been repaired by a cobbler, another menial job line (Tapper, 2002). The landlord earns a very limited inflow from the scanty housing and this is inhibited by the fact that the poor residents cannot afford monthly payments as evidenced by the fact that Zahra’s family has failed to pay the rental fees amounting to a five-month period. A parallel situation occurs for the grocer whose most sales are acquired on credit terms. The society’s poverty is amplified by the lack of official jobs matching the low living standards present.

In conclusion, Majidi portrays a succinct impoverished society by using symbolic objects like shoes that are commonly discredited in other communities as affordable items and the prevalence of unskilled job opportunities over expertise positions (Sadr, 2006). This offers a different perspective into the life of average Iranian that imparts a humane nature into the Arabian society associated with affluence due to numerous oil deposits and its abhorred state due to terrorism practices. The emotion evidenced in the film by the intensity of poverty necessitates compassion to an otherwise suffering nation through a beautiful friendly harmony that occurs between the siblings.











Sadr, H. R. (2006). Iranian cinema: a political history. London, UK: I.B.Tauris.

Tapper, R. (2002). The new Iranian cinema: politics, representation and identity. London, UK: I.B.Tauris.





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