In a mountain meadow bursting with colorful wildflowers, Mohammad
(Mohsen Ramezani), a 5-year-old blind boy, has come to find his granny
(Salime Feizi). His two, bubbly sisters (Elham Sharifi and Farahnaz
Safari) form his advance party. Dressed in colorful, native Iranian
costumes that rival the flowers, they find his granny and lead her to
the tree behind which he is hiding.
Mohammad is the central character of THE COLOR OF PARADISE by
writer/director Majid Majidi (THE CHILDREN OF HEAVEN). A simple and
sometimes poignant tale, the story is completely overwhelmed by the
picture's lush visuals. Much like Martin Scorsese's KUNDUN, the film's
enjoyment stems mainly from its look. The story is so minimal that it
is barely present.
The narrative involves a poor father (Hossein Mahjoub) who feels unable
to cope with his bright, brave blind boy, so he takes the boy to his
paternal grandmother to live. The boy's sisters already live with her.
The movie consists of small vignettes. A typical one concerns a baby
bird, which Mohammad hears crying in the grass. Digging slowly, he
locates the bird under some leaves. Using his acute sense of hearing,
he climbs a tree until he discovers the mother bird wailing away in her
nest. After uniting mother and son, Mohammad slowly retreats to the
relative safety of the ground.
Most scenes celebrate the joys of the Iranian countryside, where the
film is set. Clouds float by, woodpeckers peck and rain pours. The
problem with all of this pastoral beauty is that, with the absence of
much dialog, the picture is frequently sleep inducing.
The gripping ending makes the film much more intense than its PG rating
would imply. Nevertheless, it is the best part of the movie.
THE COLOR OF PARADISE runs 1:30. The film is in Persian with English
subtitles. It is rated PG for thematic elements and would be fine for
kids around 11 and up.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes