- The Color of Paradise
The Color of Paradise
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Majid Majidi Written by Majid Majidi Starring Hossein Mahjoub
Music by Alireza Kohandairy Cinematography Mohammad Davudi Editing by Hassan Hassandoost Studio Varahonar Company Distributed by USA
Sony Pictures Classics, Columbia TriStar
Release date(s) February 9, 1999 Running time 90 min Country Iran Language Persian
The story revolves around a blind boy named Mohammed who is released from his special school in Tehran for summer vacation. His father, shamed and burdened by Mohammed's blindness, arrives late to pick him up and then tries to convince the headmaster to keep Mohammed over the summer. The headmaster refuses, so Mohammed's father eventually takes him home.
Mohammed's father, who is a widower, now wants to marry a local girl and is preparing for the wedding. He approaches the girl's parents with gifts and they give him approval. He tries to hide the fact that he has a blind son because he fears the girl's family will see that as a bad omen.
Meanwhile, Mohammed happily roams around the beautiful hills of his village with his sisters. He touches and feels the nature around him, counting the sounds of animals, and imitating them. He displays a unique attitude towards nature, and seems to understand its rhythms and textures as a language. Mohammed goes to the local school with his sisters and reads the lessons from his textbook in Braille, which amazes the children and the teacher.
Fearing his bride-to-be's family will learn of Mohammed, his father takes him away and leaves him with a blind carpenter who agrees to make him an apprentice. The blind carpenter mentors the boy, who wants to see God. Mohammad says God doesn’t love him and thus made him blind and tells him how his teacher told him that since they are blind, God loves them more. He also tells him that God is everywhere and that you can feel God. The carpenter then just says that he agrees with his teacher and walks away, possibly affected by the boy's words, as he himself is blind.
Mohammed's grandmother is heartbroken when she realizes that Hashem (Mohammed's father) has given him away to a blind carpenter and she falls ill. She leaves the family home but Hashem tries to convince her to stay back, questioning his destiny, wondering why he lost his father as a young boy, asking why God has taken away his wife and cursed him with a blind boy, and asking his mother what she did for him. Mohammed's grandmother faints on her way so Hashem carries her back home. Eventually Mohammed's grandmother dies. The bride's family sees this as a bad omen and the wedding is called off.
His hopes destroyed, Mohammed’s father decides to bring him back. The film shows glimpses of shame and pity that Hashem felt for himself and his son all along. He goes to the blind carpenter and takes back Mohammed. He sets Mohammed on the family horse and begins leading it back to their village. On the way, they cross a small, wooden bridge which collapses, plunging the horse and Mohammed into the rushing water. For a moment his father stands still, debating whether to rescue his son or finally be free of this lifelong burden. Moments later he makes his decision and dashes into the river. He and Mohammed are carried away by the roaring water.
As the film ends, Mohammed's father wakes up on the shore of the Caspian Sea and finds Mohammed lying motionless a short distance away. He takes the body and cries, but in the final moments of the story, the boy's fingers begin moving, in the way they would when he was "reading" nature. The hand glows in the light of dawn, a sign, perhaps, that Mohammed is now experiencing God and paradise.
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