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THE COLOR OF PARADISE
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Mohsen Ramezani, Hossein Mahjoub, Salime Feizi, Elham Sharifi, Farahnaz Safari
Director: Majid Majidi
Language: Iranian (English subtitles)
USA: 85 mins
UK: 90 mins
USA Rated: PG for thematic elements
UK Certificate: PG for some mild tension and suspense
USA Release Date: 24 March 2000 (Limited Release - Los Angeles, New York)
UK Release Date: 4 August 2000
"The Color of Paradise" is a fable of a child's innocence and a complex look at faith and humanity. Visually magnificent and wrenchingly moving, the film tells the story of a boy whose inability to see the world only enhances his ability to feel its powerful forces.
At an institute for blind children in Tehran, parents are arriving to pick up their children for summer vacation. But long after the other children have left with their families, 8-year-old Mohammad (Mohsen Ramezani) is still waiting for his father to show. Mohammad contentedly passes the hours exploring the fertile spring earth at the perimeter of the school grounds. Underneath the damp leaves, he discovers a helpless baby bird. He uses his extraordinary sense of hearing to locate the mother bird's nest and returns the bird to the safety of its home.
Just then, his father Hashem (Hossein Mahjub), a widowed coal worker, finally arrives, only to ask one of the teachers if his child could be allowed to stay at the school permanently. Turned down, he begrudgingly agrees to take Mohammad on the journey to their home in the heights of northern Iran.
Arriving at the family farm, Mohammad is lovingly greeted by his two happy-go-lucky sisters and beloved Granny (Salime Feizi). He is delighted to be in the embrace of his family in this beautiful setting. The days are spent almost in slow-motion, at one with nature.
But little Mohammad's peace is threatened when his spiritually blind father fears that the boy will be an obstacle to his hopes to marry a beautiful young woman from a strict Islamic family. Hashem follows through on his selfish plan to ship the boy off to live in another area of the country where he is to become an apprentice to a blind carpenter.
But back at the farm, tensions between Granny and Mohammad's father are rising and eventually Granny falls ill. Mohammad's father's plans for remarriage are disrupted and he is forced to face his responsibility to his son. But is it too late? Will Hashem act in time to see that his son has truly been touched by the hand of God?