Majid Majidi celebrates the immediacy and essence of childhood in this delightful tale of a brother and sister who share a pair of shoes when the boy (though no fault of his own) loses his sister's only pair. Since their parents are too poor to afford a new pair, they keep it a secret, trading them off every day in a mad rush, jumping gutters and navigating the twisting lanes to their schools and back.
Then the boy hatches a plan the third-place prize in a student footrace is a new pair of shoes, and he's determined to take it. The plot may smack of a Disney film, but the direction couldn't be more different. The family scenes are delicately observed, and Majidi captures the spirit of the children perfectly proud, emotional, petulant, sweet, and disarmingly sincere. The film has a Western-friendly framework without losing the naturalistic eye and lolling rhythm that gives the best Iranian films their richness. Even as he builds to the climactic footrace (quite unexpectedly turned into a nail-biting contest) the film continues to reveal a wealth of discreet surprises, culminating in a conclusion all the more resonant for its sublime delicacy. His efforts earned the film the honor of becoming the first Iranian feature to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. --Sean Axmaker
show more show less