"Children of Heaven" is a movie my mother repeatedly recommended to me. For years. I didn't resist -- I just never got around to it. She wanted me to watch it for the running. I just watched it -- for Mother's Day. It was amazing.
Two Iranian children -- a boy, around nine years old, and his younger sister, maybe seven -- come from a very poor family. The film opens with the sister's shoes being repaired -- very worn pink mary-janes. The brother loses the shoes on the way home. So the two share his very worn white sneakers and never tell their parents. They could not afford a new pair. The boy's solution to the lost shoes: He enters a road race for school boys -- a 4K -- for which the third place prize is a pair of sneakers, which he promises to trade in for a girl's pair. The road race takes up a scant 5-10 minutes of film time.
The film is visually stunning and captures the nuances well -- like a good novel would: showing, not telling. The race was perfectly captured: quiet, with only some panting and soft music (no "Chariots of Fire" loudness -- though that has its place). The hills! The scrum of runners! The course markings! The race officials! The finish line! My body reacted as if I were running a race. I felt my adrenaline surge, my focus hone in on the runners and the road (though small on the screen). Such an odd feeling, especially since I was lying down with my 11-month-old. The context was completely off.
I loved the movie. Please rent it. Even if you don't often watch foreign films.
But why does this have anything, really, to do with Mother's Day? This is my first Mother's Day without my own mother. I am her only child. We were very close. I have been reading and gathering books she gave me in one place. The time had come to watch the movie she always wanted me to see. Thank you, Mum. Happy Mother's Day.