Director Majid Majidi / 1998 / Iran

On his way home from running errands, Ali, a school­boy from a poor family, loses his sister Zahra's newly repaired shoes. Concerned that his parents will berate him, he calls on Zahra to help keep the incident a secret. An elaborate shoe sharing system—involving after school sprints, angry teachers and tears of frustra­tion—stretches the children to breaking point. At the point of giving up, Ali hits upon a risky scheme to win his sister new shoes.

Children ol Heaven is no exception to the pattern set in Majidi's filmmaking: a focus on either youth or particularly vulnerable members of Iranian society, addressing pertinent social issues whilst keeping a close eye on the personal within the political. The film's strength lies not only in its perceptive exploration of dig­nity, but in its understanding of human behaviour. This modern masterpiece of Iranian cinema was awarded the top prize at Ihe 15th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, as well as Besl Picture at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival.

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