The Examination of an Iranian Cinematic Masterpiece.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and if that is true than a film must be worth at least a million words. Adding to this intrinsic value, filmmakers will often mask subtle messages behind the brightly colored facade presented to their audiences. One such film is the 1999 Iranian masterpiece The Color of Paradise. Written and directed by Majid Majidi, not only does this film present a easily understood and emotional plot but it also contains numerous subtle commentaries on important factors varying from Islam to Iranian culture and finally to direct critiques of the current Iranian administration.
Without even delving beneath the surface, the plot of The Color of Paradise is an emotional, heart wrenching one. The story revolves around a widower named Hashem and his blind son Mohammad who is on summer vacation from his special school in Tehran. The father and son travel to a village in Northern Iran, located along the Caspian Sea. Once there, the father and son reunite with family including the boy's grandmother and two sisters. The story follows both the fathers' attempts at marrying a village girl and Mohammad's interactions with his extended family. It is clear from the very start that rather than a blessing; Mohammad's father views him as a tiresome burden which is holding him back. Hashem spends the film working at a series of menial jobs which fill him with no joy and, in the turning point of the film, decides to leave Mohammad with a blind carpenter for fear that his bride-to-be's family will learn of his existence. This stunning betrayal cripples the grandmother, who shortly after dies. In cruel irony, the bride's family views her death as an ill omen and break off the engagement anyway. His hopes and dreams crushed, Hashem then decides to go and retrieve his son from the carpenter. On the journey home, a crude bridge in the woods collapses and Mohammad falls into a raging river.