A 2008 movie directed by Danny Boyle
In THE COLOR OF PARADISE, an eight-year-old boy named Mohammed attends a school for blind children in Tehran. When summer vacation arrives, the parents of the other children arrive to take them home. Mohammed's widowed coal worker father, Hashem, … see full wiki
Suddenly I find myself in Iran, and Im going to be there for three weeks. No, not the actual country in my film class! You silly people. Iran has a rich history concerning film, something I never would have guessed. I suppose that makes me an evil, biased American, but hey, no one teaches us anything about anywhere else. The most we get is on the (also biased) news stations. So what do I know about Iran? More than I did in my past 22 years up until last Monday. Cool.
Our first film for Iran is Majid Majidis The Color of Paradise. Its a brief 90 minutes (well, these days 90 minutes is brief to me), full of meaning and beautiful scenery and sounds.
The Color of Paradise is a story about a young blind boy named Mohammad, who sees the world through his fingertips and sounds he hears. He seems at ease with his blindness and is loved by all the children, his two sisters, and his grandmother. The problem lies within Mohammads father, who, though he loves his child, is unable to get over the fact that Mohammad is blind and what that might mean for his (the fathers) future. The story, though it may not seem like it, focuses as much on the fathers mental blindness towards his son as it does on Mohammads experiences. Many times we wonder what the father is planning, and at the end we see his true colors, however late they may be.
Mohsen Ramezani is an actual blind child who plays the part of Mohammad, and very well I might add. He is such a cute boy and his character, though he does break down at one point, does not seem to mind that he is blind, happily going through life and listening to things such as woodpeckers and trying to figure out what they are saying. At one point early in the movie he discovers a baby bird has fallen out of his nest and manages to stave off a hungry cat, find the squalling birdie, climb the correct tree, and return the bird to its nest. I was instantly in love with Mohammad.
The father, though he has suffered a great deal of hardships so that we should feel sorry for him, makes it difficult to do so through his actions concerning Mohammad. He does not seem to realize how intelligent his son is, how the other children adore him, and how Mohammad can see things the father does not. Instead, he is more concerned with his own well-being, afraid the mention of Mohammad to the parents of his potential new bride will deter them, and blowing a gasket at Granny when he finds out Mohammad went to the regular school with his sisters, even though Mohammad did better than some of the children there and had a wonderful time. Several times, though you could see in the fathers eyes that he loved Mohammad, I was worried that he would go so far as to kill him to be rid of the burden. Early on in the film there is a scene where Mohammad plays in a stream and the father stares at him in a sad, but pondering the idea, sort of way and I thought to myself, Oh hes not going to kill him is he? when really I had no sure reason why I should be thinking that. The camera shots and facial expressions were simply strong enough to plant the thought in my head (and the heads of several other students) and it wasnt the last.
The location the movie was shot in was in a mountainous area, rich and green with foliage and wildflowers something I know a lot of us never think of when we think of Iran. It made for gorgeous shots though, especially during a scene when a thick fog comes rolling in against the deep green of the forest. There are a lot of parallels between Mohammad and his father, concerning trees, helping (or not helping) animals, being handicapped in some way, and hearing very distinct sounds in the woods. I still dont know what the father was hearing, but it was pretty scary, whereas Mohammad heard a sweet birdsong many times being accompanied with an overhead shot of Mohammad, giving an indication of God watching him. Both also feel at least at one point that God has abandoned them, Mohammad letting it all out to another blind man (then hearing the sound and the camera shot), and the scene right after is the father lamenting to his mother.
Im giving this movie 4 stars because of some of the ambiguity that we are left with. Yes, I understand the reasons behind some of it, such as the up-for-grabs ending, but there are a few other things. Im still curious about that sound the father heard, though I have some ideas, as well as a few other things I wont mention because theyll spoil some important parts of the movie for you.
Just trust me. ^_^
Viewing Format: DVD
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