Colour of Paradise (1999)
Director: Majid Majidi
Cast: Mohsen Ramezani, Hosseim Mahjub,
A young blind boy Mohammad (Mohsen Ramezani) is left disappointed and in tears when his father, Hashem (Hosseim Mahjub) does not look like he is going to make an appearance to pick him up from the blind school he attends. But after a touching and worrying encounter with a fledgling Mohammad is eventually picked up from school, and taken home to be with his family for the summer holidays.
Hashem resents Mohammad for being blind, as he is trying to woo a local girl, and convince her parents that he is a good match for her, even though she is a rung above him in the social ladder. He sees Mohammad as an unwanted chain around his neck.
The father resenting the boy’s presence and the fact that he may be soon bringing home a wife, thinks that he will lose face in front of his future spouse’s family and convinces a talented blind carpenter, to take on Mohammad as an apprentice.
Mohammad bonds with the carpenter and tells him that he was once told that to see god he would have to feel him with his fingertips. Just as Mohammad gets settled in with the carpenter and starts to learn the trade his father returns to take Mohammad home after the death of his grandmother.
On the way home, during a violent storm and torrential downpour the father maliciously toys with the idea of getting rid of his son once and for all in the storm.
Truly a beautiful film with the beautiful backgrounds and scenery coming through, and showing the nature of amazement that fills the boy’s life. The inquisitive hands of Mohammad eagerly caress everything that can be touched and even things that cannot.
The beautiful country of Iran is shown in a full wonderful colour, truly a paradise, in contrast to other Iranian films where the barren landscapes and the brutal nature of the country’s weather is shown as a fully rounded character of the film. Here the full character is being shown in the beauty of the blossom, but still often hostile countryside.
This is one of the most moving films I have ever seen it is truly magical. There are striking colourful, painterly, emotional, and beauty parallels between this and Takeshi Kitano’s Kikujiro (1999). Two films about young boy’s struggles through loneliness and disappointments with adults, who in varying degrees help or hinder their existence.
The commitment of the actors is amazing and is shown to be so when there is a terrible flood. I cannot remember having seen such commitment as this in a film in a long time, especially not in western films.
Iranian cinema is one of the most beautiful and challenging areas of cinema. Rarely being seen by larger proportions of western audiences. There is a wealth of humanity, beauty, warmth, ideas, simplicity, comedy and pure genius waiting to be absorbed in these films.
It is certainly an area that should be explored by anybody serious about movies of quality. Each one is an experience that, even though they may not have a lasting impression on the viewer, which by the way most of them will, it is certainly an area that one film from this area of wonderful cinema can make one day of your life truly magical. And as cinema evolved from a Magic Lantern show to the wealth of reach, emotion and technology it is today, makes you realise that films as beautiful as powerful and as moving as the “Colour of Paradise” are the whole reason why cinema was invented.
Review by Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.