Years ago, I saw a couple Iranian films that were as good as any films made anywhere. The best thing about “Children of Heaven” and “The Color of Paradise” is the humanity of the characters. So, while political relations between Iran and much of the West are very, very strained to say the least, the film gives you insight into the people and shows that there is goodness everywhere. And, the issues these folks deal with (particularly in “The Color of Paradise”) are universal.
While “Children of Heaven” is Majidi’s most famous film, I think “The Color of Paradise” is his best. In fact, I’d place it in my top 10 of ALL films–it’s that good since I have seen so many. It’s the story of a blind boy whose father will not accept him–a problem many disabled children struggle with throughout the world. As a father of a deaf daughter, it was particularly poignant. I won’t tell you more of the plot–just see this film for yourself.
As a result of my loving these two films, I have sought out all of Majidi’s films and have enjoyed every one of them. They each star normal folks and seem like a more modern version of the Italian Neo-Realist films–movies made without professional actors and filmed out in the real world.
“Baran”, “The Song of Sparrows” and “The Willow Tree” are all exceptional films by Mijidi which haven’t yet been discovered by most film snobs. Of the three, “The Willow Tree” is the best. It’s a strange story of a middle-aged man who is blind but is given his sight–and it actually ends up making his life much worse! It’s a wonderful look into human nature and I appreciate how in this story, a disabled guy isn’t wonderful and noble!
My suggestion is to start with “The Color of Paradise” but have some Kleenex handy. It packs a huge emotional punch and is perfectly appropriate for all ages. Then by all means see his other films. You will thank me–they are that good.