‘Children of Heaven’, Majid Majidi
Cinema is dead of winter! The cinema that has gone through hibernation
It’s a common trend in the world of cinema that children’s cinema has the best-selling films. In fact children’s films topped the box office in most countries. But it seems it’s different in Iran.
Many of the children’s films made during these years in Iran either do not have permission to be screened or have very limited releases in movie theaters!
Many cinema owners don’t like to screen children’s movies because they think these movies are not successful in cinema box office and so filmmakers who make children’s movies can hardly screen their films in movie theaters in Iran.
The government sometimes helps filmmakers make children’s movies and pays the cost of making the films, but they again encounter many problems in the screening process.
Iranian children’s movies however were very popular 25 to 30 years ago, selling them in the 80s being similar to other countries, especially Hollywood.
The movies of other countries around the world usually don’t screen in Iran and it is generally homegrown movies only that screen here, so Iranian films can be uncontested and unrivaled inside Iran. The absence of movies from other countries doesn’t however help Iranian children’s movies and seems to extend the period of hibernation for children’s films.
Many reasons have been listed for this issue. These include the unavailability of movies from around the world to Iranian audiences in the 80s, in addition to the fact that the government had more support for children’s movies at that time.
Another reason is that movie experts and critics play an important role in Iran and the making of movies for children are therefore not suitable for them. The interesting thing is that these movies were successful in international film festivals around the world. The main characters in these movies were children and so these movies were diagnosed as suitable for children.
Some of these movies ‘Where is the friend’s home‘ by Abbas Kiarostami, ‘Children of Heaven‘ and ‘The Color of Paradise‘ by Majid Majidi, ‘The Boot’ by Mohammad Ali Talebi and ‘The White Balloon‘ by Jafar Panahi; all movies that were successful in festivals.
All these movies have a common point. All these movies featured a main child character, but their screenplays were not suitable for children.
The subjects of these movies are of man and philosophical concepts and it seems for the humble world of children the director expresses these concepts.
Many critics believe that being successful in the world’s leading festivals caused Iranian directors to make movies about children as opposed to making movies for children.
According to the tastes of children around the world, it is obvious that children like fantasy movies and don’t like to see the problems of their peers explored on screen.
Following the failure of children’s movies in Iran, it seems this particular genre of cinema has been going through a period of hibernation and will not be awoken soon.