Making the Grades
I think Majid Majidi would be an interesting person to meet. This Iranian writer and director (of this film as well as the Academy Award nominated Children Of Heaven ), provides an insight into the feelings and thoughts of children that few directors have captured. He understands that children are capable of seeing the complexities of life, often more clearly than the adults around them do. And seeing is what The Color Of Paradise is all about.
When young Mohammad (Mohsen Ramezani) finishes his term at a school for blind children in Tehran, he patiently waits for his father, a widower, to travel in from the country and pick him up. All the other children have left, but Mohammad remains, spending time listening to the sounds of the surrounding garden and rescuing a baby bird. Finally his father Hashem (Hossein Mahjub) arrives and, after being told the school can't keep the boy for the summer, reluctantly takes Mohammad with him for the long bus ride home.
Fortunately Mohammad's Granny (Salime Feizi) is elated to see the boy, as are his two sisters. Working the fields in an attempt to augment her son's coal mining wages, Granny does her best to help Mohmmad find his place in the world. But Hashem, tired of the responsibility of caring for his handicapped son, and looking for an excuse to get rid of the him so he can marry a wealthy woman from a neighboring community, apprentices Mohammad to a blind carpenter far from his home. Convincing himself that he has done his duty, Hashem pursues his self-centered goals only to discover that nothing he does will alter the life God intends him to live.
Mohammad also struggles to understand God's intentions. His personal quest is to see the color of God (or his paradise), just as a sighted person may seek for the touch of God. His blind faith stands in stark contrast to his father's blind ambition.
Although cultural differences may not allow us to fully appreciate the movie's abrupt conclusion, the heart of the story is not lost in the translation.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Color Of Paradise.
Although the culture of Iran is very different from what you may experience in North America or other parts of the world, is there anything universal about the struggles faced by Mohammad and his father? Would a widower (in any other part of the world) with a mentally or physically disadvantaged child have a more difficult time finding a second wife? Is increasing financial status a priority in your culture?
Families watching this movie may want to note certain things about Mohammad’s family:
- How do their possessions differ from where you live? Do they have a car, etc?
- How do they dress? Is their clothing clean and well kept?
- How do they care for their home? (Note Mohammad’s sister sweeping the dirt path leading to their door.)