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Color of Paradise

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Color of Paradise

Starring: Mohsen Ramezani, Hossein Mahjoub
Director: Majid Majidi
Rated: PG
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Drama, Foreign

*Also starring: Salime Feizi, Elham Sharifi, Farahnaz Safari

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Majid Majidi's "Children of Heaven," about two children who share the same well-worn pair of sneakers, received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film last year, yet it never had a national release. However, this new entry by the Iranian film-maker is being exhibited nationally. Mohsen Ramezani stars as Mohammed, a blind eight year-old, who senses that his presence hinders the courtship by his widowed father (Hossein Mahjub), a poor coal worker, of a much younger new bride (Masoomeh Zeinti) with a bountiful dowry. Not that the child is alone. He has a grandmother and two sisters who try to cheer his spirits - and he spends much of the year at a special school for the handicapped in Tehran. But the primal frustration and emotional conflict eventually explode - on both sides. As a side note: the child actor Mohsen Ramezani is also sightless. Which is particularly poignant since Majid Majidi's seductively pastoral cinematic world is splashed with vibrant color as well as the sounds of nature. But it's what he touches and hears that makes Mohsen recognize the message of a woodpecker, "read" the stones at the bottom of a mountain creek, and respond to the rustle of leaves to discover that a baby bird has fallen from its nest - right into the danger of a cat. And you realize the lonely boy's innate courage when he carefully climbs the tree with the chick in his pocket to place it back in its nest. Along with "Children of Heaven," "The White Balloon," and "Taste of Cherry," "The Color of Paradise" is a touching, memorable contemporary Iranian film that focuses on imagery of the simple, quiet faith and poignant innocence of children. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Color of Paradise" is a haunting, heart-breaking 9. It's in Farsi with English subtitles.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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