Why Are Children Used as Protagonists in Iranian Cinema: a Look Into Majid Majidi’s ‘the Children of Heaven’ (1997)?

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  • Topic: Cinema of Iran, Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi
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  • Published : November 23, 2012
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SAE Institute London Written Assignment

WHY

ARE CHILDREN USED AS PROTAGONISTS IN IRANIAN CINEMA : A LOOK INTO MAJID MAJIDI’S ‘THE CHILDREN OF HEAVEN ’ (1997)?

Iman Yusufali 15346 FF1011 20 August 2012 Word count: 3300 approx.

 

 

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DECLARATION:
I hereby declare that I wrote this written assignment on my own and without the use of any other than the cited sources and tools and all explanations that I copied directly or in their sense are marked as such, as well as that the dissertation has not yet been handed in neither in this nor in equal form at any other official commission. Date: 20 August 2012 Place: London, U.K. Signature: IMAN YUSUFALI

 

 

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Table of Content
Title Page Declaration Page Table of content Essay Reference List i ii iii 1 7

 

 

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WHY

ARE CHILDREN USED AS PROTAGONISTS IN IRANIAN CINEMA : A LOOK INTO MAJID MAJIDI’S ‘THE CHILDREN OF HEAVEN ’ (1997)?

Iranian cinema has numerous successful movies that have been viewed internationally, that use children as protagonists and child heroes who have to go through daily life struggles. These films include ‘Children of Heaven’, ‘Colour of God’ by Majid Majidi, ‘The White Balloon’, ‘Mashq-e Shab’ (homework) by Kiarostami and Ab Bad Khak (water, wind, dust) by Amir Naderi. The innocence of a child and the impromptu acting is sure to affect the way the story is told and witnessed by the viewers. Therefore what we are going to explore in this essay is what children could possibly represent and symbolise in films, why Iranian cinema in particular has used this notion of child-hero and we will also be analysing Majid Majidi’s film ‘The Children of heaven’ (1997) step by step, how he uses children as protagonists and what they represent in film. Ultimately, we will understand the effect of using the child-hero in films and how the audiences interpret the film. Moreover, we shall be considering what children symbolize and represent in films and what they convey through their naturalistic performances. Additionally, we examine how the Iranian cinema changed post revolution and in what ways the filmmakers were forced to conform to the censorship prohibitions laid down by the strict government of Iran. Likewise, we will be analysing Majid Majidi’s Oscar nominated film from 1997; ‘The Children of Heaven’ and how it conforms to these censorship laws, as well as its success in being able to attract a large international audience simultaneously, who could relate and sympathise with it’s child-hero, Ali. Using sources and references such as the World Wide Web, journals, books and reviews we arrive at our conclusion. It might not make sense why these questions in particular need to be answered, however my personal experiences living in Iran, my interest in Iranian cinema and my knowledge of the Persian language would be the first reason as to why this topic was chosen. Secondly, I strongly believe these are questions that one needs to consider and research whilst studying digital filmmaking, since using a child hero instead of an adult hero could have a major impact on the way a message of a film and the emotions within it, are communicated and perceived. This will result in the realization that a tainted adult cannot communicate the same messages and performances, as a pure child is able to.

 

 

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Many films worldwide use children as lead roles in their stories; as has been seen in Hollywood, Bollywood, Iranian and Italian cinema in films such as, ‘Hugo’ (2011), ‘Tare zameen par’ (2007), ‘Children of Heaven’ (1997) and ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948). Why use children as protagonists? Is it not possible for adults to play the hero instead? Children have a sense of realness about them, a world of their own not yet tainted by adult distrust, dishonesty and disbelief. Children symbolise an untouched reality not influenced by the world...
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