Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik
|Featuring||Mohsen Ramezani, Hossein Mahjub, Farahnaz Safari, Salime Feizi, Elham Sharim|
|Producer||Mehdi Karimi, Ali Kalij|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Classics|
It seems that some of the most provocative yet morally acceptable movies today are coming from the foreign film sector. In “The Color of Paradise”, we not only see Iran in its present day life and customs, and its multi-faceted terrain, but we are offered a story that delves into the dark side of human nature without any morally offensive material.
The story focuses on the life of an 8-year old blind boy, Mohammad (Mohsen Ramezani), who spends the school year in an institute for the blind in Tehran and the summers with his grandmother and sisters in the hills of Iran. His widowed father, Hashem (Hossein Mahjub), is late in picking up Mohammad for summer vacation and even wishes to leave him behind at the school. His aversion to his son is painful to watch. The reason for his attitude becomes apparent when they arrive at the grandmother’s house in the country and Hashem visits the home of the Islamic woman he wishes to marry. He hides the existence of his son from her family, hoping to find favor with them. He has already told his mother he wants to put Mohammad in apprenticeship with a local carpenter, who is also blind. Hashem’s antipathy toward his blind child is his fatal flaw and error, and precipitates the tragic sequence of events that follow.
Although Hashem is no doubt selfish, his character is complex, as he expresses the misery he has felt all his life and the frustration he feels having a child that he sees as a burden to him. His moral ugliness and spiritual blindness are in stark contrast to the lush beauty and color of the landscape and the wisdom and charity of the other characters, who accept Mohammad’s physical limitation and include him in their lives.
This movie is recommended for all, although children may find it slow and thematically too complex. We see Hashem pay for his mistakes. Filmed in the Muslim culture, “The Color of Paradise” depicts a story with a strong moral focus that is also in line with a Christian worldview.