Film director, Majid Majidi
How lucky I am
A boy's thoughts on "Children of Heaven"
By Somm Tabrizi
July 29, 1999
Somm Tabrizi is a 10-year-old Iranian in Toronto, Canada. He entered
this article for his school literature contest.
Movies are supposed to be for entertainment as well as for fun. However
many movies are meant to teach us lessons about life and pass on some very
important messages. In all my lifetime, whenever I went to a movie I always
thought I was going to be entertained. That's exactly what I thought was
going to happen when I went to see "Children of Heaven", a movie
written in Persian, the official language of the country of Iran and also
the language I speak at home.
Little did I know the movie I was about to see was not only going to
entertain me but also make me feel extremely sad, make me cry, and also
teach me one of the biggest lessons I have learned in all my existence.
This lesson was going to change the way I looked at my life forever.
Dear judges, parents, teachers, and students,
I'm going to introduce you to the most extraordinary movie I have seen.
"Children of Heaven", directed by Majid Majidi, won a birth into
the Oscar as a nominee for best foreign language movie only to lose to
the Italian movie "Life is Beautiful". The story began when nine-year-old
Ali, the eldest of three children, took his sister's only pair of shoes
to the repair shop. On his way back home Ali stopped at the market to
buy food for the family. Not more than a couple meters away from the shoes,
Ali was selecting vegetables, when the store janitor accidentally took
the shoes inside a bag, thinking it was garbage and left. Ali could not
find the footwear no matter how extensively he looked.
When the young boy finally went home, he discussed the problem with
his sister Zahra. Because of their parents' lack of money, the two chose
not to tell them about the situation, for they knew their parents would
get extremely frustrated at the thought of buying new shoes for their daughter
when they almost don't have enough money to quench their thirst or stop
their hunger. Since they only had one pair of shoes between them, Ali
and Zahra had to face extremely difficult obstacles.
For example, because the boys and girls went to separate schools in
Iran, and the boys' and girls' schools were at different times, when Zahra's
class was finished, she had to rush home to give the shoes to her brother
Ali so that he could rush to school and be there on time.
All of this was done without mother and father knowing. However, this
plan was not without its own problem. Many times Zahra did not reach Ali
in time to give him the shoes, so he could go to school. Therefore, Ali
got to school late, and got in trouble with the principal many times.
Each year, all the schools in the region Ali was living had a marathon
race, and the fastest students of the schools in that region could participate.
What made Ali want to participate in the race was that the third place
winner got a pair of boys' shoes. Ali thought if he won third place he
could go to the shoe store and exchange the shoes for girls' shoes and
give them to Zahra so that each of them could have a pair of footwear.
In the race, coming towards the final minutes, Ali was in first place,
so he purposely slowed down and let two people pass him so that he come
in third. However, somebody pushed Ali intentionally and he fell to the
ground. As a result, many runners passed him. Therefore, he had to run
as fast as he could to get back in front of the pack.
Coming towards the finish line, Ali was part of a group of five runners
who were ahead of everybody else, and all five competitors were shoulder
to shoulder. As Ali was sprinting, he was dreaming of winning the third
place and getting the shoes, but it was so tight that it was very difficult
for Ali to purposely come in third, so he simply ran as fast as he could
and as a result he came in first. He got the first place prize but not
the shoes which was what he wanted.
Ali knew that his father had found an extra job as a gardener, so this
would make the family's financial situation much better. What young Ali
didn't know was that because of the higher income, his father had bought
the children a new pair of shoes. Therefore, after all the hassles the
children would get a decent pair of shoes each. So the movie basically
ended on this happy note.
As I was watching this film, I realized how lucky I am to have all the
things I do and to have money available in my family when it is needed
the most. I also learned from this movie that many people don't have money
to spend when they have to, or food to eat when they are hungry, or even
clean water for when they are thirsty. So after experiencing the most
beautiful movie I know of, I feel much more thankful for what I have and
what I have received in the past.
When I was watching Ali deal with his problems, I learned to never give
up when times get tough and to always do my best at life every day no matter
what obstacles lie ahead of me. I hope that one of these days you learn
this lesson too, so that you can live your lives more happily and peacefully
if you are ever faced with one of these dreadful situations throughout
your lives. Thank you for your time.
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writer, Somm Tabrizi