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Children Of Heaven review

Children Of Heaven was the first Iranian movie to be nominated for an Oscar (it lost out to Life Is Beautiful), so it's surprising it's taken so long reaching our screens.

Nine-year-old Ali (Hashemian) has mislaid his sister Zahra (Seddiqi)'s shoes. Afraid to tell his impoverished parents about the loss, Ali comes up with a practical solution: Zahra can wear his trainers during her morning lessons provided she returns them to him in time for his afternoon classes.

Clearly influenced by Italian neo-realists such as Bicycle Thieves director Vittorio De Sica, helmer Majid Majidi uses real locations and non-professional actors to fashion an engaging portrait of youthful determination and resilience. And in documenting the rituals of everyday life in the capital, the film-maker doesn't shirk from depicting the material gulf between the social classes. Beguiling stuff.

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