Ali takes Zahera's shoes for mending but while attending to another chore the shoes get taken away by the Janitor who comes to collect the garbage from the shop. Money is tight in the family witha new baby's arrival and mother' sickness. So Ali who is 9 and Zahera who is about 6 decide to share Ali's shoes to school as their timings are different.But Zahera must run back after school to meet her waiting brother so he can wear the shoes and run to school. In spite of their best efforts, there are many days when Ali is delayed by a few minutes and has to face the wrath of the headmaster. Zahera's eyes constantly linger on the beautiful footwear of other children in school but she does not complain about the loss of shoes to her father as she knows and Ali tells that her father does not have the money for it. He tries to cheer his sister with gifts of his own pencil which his teacher presents him with for doing well in studies. Attracted by the third prize in a state running competition, which includes a pair of sneakers, Ali registers for the competition to run for the third prize. Wearing his worn out shoes he runs to keep up his promise to his sister of the new pair of sneakers but ina last minute confusion he ends up coming first. He is in tears while his eyes rest on he third prize even as he is being offered the first.
He comes home forlorn and upset and rests his tired and hurting feet in the pond where goldfish rush to soothe his feet.
He still doesn't know that his father is on his way with a new pair of shoes for him as well as his sister!

Bacheha-e-aasman (children of heaven) was the Iranian film nominated for the oscars in 1998 in the foreign film category but lost to another all time great "Life is beautiful" But it won several other awards.
A touching performance by the two adorable kids and a story told very beautifully.A family where money may be short but certainly rich in the warmth of emotions and care and love.
Although the film does not show the childrens' joy when they receive the new shoes, we know how much I would mean to them. Unfortunately this is a joy that children from affluent families no longer know - that is the problem of plenty. One does not know the value of something as simple as a new pair of shoes!

or to delight in a simple soap bubble while washing the shoes!

Or the joy of doing something for someone else:
20 Responses
  1. rads Says:


    we are fortunate aren't we? :-)

  2. Shruthi Says:

    Such a beautiful movie. I couldn't stop the tears but couldn't stop watching the movie either. A simple story told beautifully... I hadn't watched the first few minutes, so I did not know how the little girl lost her shoes. Thanks!
    And as Rads says, we are fortunate!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Commenting first time on your blog, Usha! Love your writing.

    I see that you are in Bangalore. Where did you get to watch the movie? it sounds wonderful, just wondering how I can lay my hands on it. Thanks!

  4. Usha Says:

    Rads, Shruthi::-)

    Chitra: Thanks. I borrowed the DVD from Cinema Paradiso which is a Video library located in Koramangala. I am sure it should be available in Habitat, the other video library on church street.

  5. Prashanth M Says:

    lovely story!! Where was this screened ? AFB?

  6. Mahadevan Says:

    Terribly moved. Longing to see the smile on the faces of Ali and Zahera, when they sport the new pairs of shoes, there father is bringing.

    I wonder at the great post, but, 'lack tongue to praise'.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Children of Heaven is one of my favorite movies. Among my all time favorite movies about children -

    Osama (Afghanistan - depressing)
    King of Masks (China - uplifting)
    Turtles Can Fly (Iraq - depressing)
    The Butterfly (France - uplifting)
    Rabbit-Proof Fence (Australia - uplifting)

    and of course, Amol Palekar's Kairee (uplifting) and the Whale Rider (New Zealand - uplifting). Children of the world - they sure make you think!

  8. Inder Says:

    seems pretty emotional movie... i prefer the ever-so-happy animation movies :)

  9. Paavai Says:

    These days, every issue of ananda vikatan has a review of one foreign film. You may want to check those out too. I read about a movie on the relationship between a grand mother and her grand son. I had a lump in my throat. Most movies written about in vikatan, seem to have this effect on me. Thanks for recommending one more :)-

  10. Usha Says:

    Prashanth:No,in my own house- watched it on DVD.

    Mahadevan: Please try and watch it.Every emotion on the children's faces, every smile and tear is sheer poetry.

    The RF:Thank you. I will check if the library has any of these.Watched water too.Affected me so deeply that I cannot do justice to it in words.

    Inder: This is a happy ending too.

    Paavai: Sure will do.

  11. GuNs Says:

    Have you seen last year's Oscar entry from India, the Marathi film 'Shwaas'? Please do, its amazing. IF yuo look at the real life photo of the director (who also plays the old grandfather in the film), you will be amazed how a low-budget film like that could manage a genius makeup artist, whoever it was.


  12. Thanks usha for wrting about the movie it will help next time when I am in the mood for a good movie.

    Yes, we now have "the problem of the plenty" and it can be quite a problem too.....people used to die from hunger and starvation and now people die form obesity and its related problems (66 % of AMericans are overweight or obese).

    ....and just last night I was thinking of how teach A that he cannot just get what he wants, he has to earn it.

  13. very touchingly written...
    must watch the movie

  14. Anonymous Says:

    That's the thing about kids. Their wonder at the world is contagious. Enjoyed your blog.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Usha,
    I just came across your blog today and was pleasantly surprised to read about "Children Of Heaven".I saw it last month ,i guess it was in Sony Pix that they had shown it.Such a lovely movie ...

  16. Artnavy Says:

    I want to see the movie. Where would one get to see it in Chennai any clue?

    I recollect a Chinese movie long ago on DD that had a brother-sister who really cared a lot for each other- do you know it?

  17. Usha Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Usha Says:

    Guns: yes, I have seen it. Posted a review too.

    Orchid:I remember that I used to feel upset when my father in law would take away the new pencils, erasers etc which i used to bring for my son saying that he would give them to him when he uses up the one he already has.It was only later that I understood what he meant and how much it helped my son to understand the value of things.It is a very important lesson for children (and sometimes adults) to have.

    Somethingtosay: I have not mentioned some of the incidents which are really sweet and touching. Please watch.

    Iz: Isn't it amazing that we came from there but forgot it all and have to learn it from them?

    Smitha: was it on PIX? I missed it then.

    Artnavy: Cinema Paradiso or any good video library with a selection of international cinema should have. Smitha tells me that PIX showed it. Watch out for the next time.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    such a beautiful post and review of the movie.
    you are right Usha... these days the simple joy in small things seem to have been lost.
    When i get a small hand towel for my grandmother she is so ecstatic, but I never find even half of that pleasure when I buy a new shirt for myself. I feel so bad at myself at those times ...

  20. beautiful... i love reading ur reviews... and i dont get to watch any of the movies!!! again.. i realise how blessed we are...