The Color of Paradise
|Keywords||Abandonment, Aging, Blindness, Body Self-Image, Caregivers, Catastrophe, Child Abuse, Children, Disability, Empathy, Family Relationships, Father-Son Relationship, Freedom, Grief, Human Worth, Individuality, Loneliness, Love, Mother-Son Relationship, Nature, Ordinary Life, Parenthood, Scapegoating, Society, Suffering, Survival, Trauma|
Mohammed (Mohsen Ramezani), an eight year old blind boy attending a special school in an Iranian city waits for his widowed father (Hossein Mahjub) to bring him home to his isolated, but idyllic Iranian village for summer recess. During several interminable hours of waiting outside the school, viewers come to recognize the boy’s sensitivity to his surroundings. Through sound and feel he is at one with nature. Remarkably, he is able to rescue a vulnerable baby bird and return it to the tree branch nest from where it has fallen.
Unfortunately, Mohammed’s father fails to exhibit this kind of care with his son. The tardy reunion is painful: rather than embracing the boy, the father requests that school officials keep the boy during the recess. When the request is refused by embarrassed faculty members who are sympathetic to the child’s family needs, father and son begin the long walk, then bus ride into the distant countryside.
In contrast, Mohammed receives a warm and loving welcome from his Granny (Salime Feizi), his sisters, and the neighboring children. Immediately, the children run with him into the meadows to explore and celebrate. Clearly, this is Mohammed’s nest.
Even though Mohammed’s abilities at the local school are superior to those of his classmates and even though he is able to function in normal play with his peers, the father focuses only on the boy’s removal from the family and the village so that he can find a new wife to care for him and his other children. The unprepared boy is taken abruptly by his father to a blind carpenter many miles away where he will serve as an apprentice. Although the carpenter is kind, Mohammed is devastated by the cruel separation from Granny and the children.
Unburdened, the father goes forth with plans for another marriage, but before the arranged ceremony occurs both the heartbroken Granny and Mohammed die. The bride-to-be and her family regard these losses as unhealthy portends. Marriage plans are canceled. Only then, does the father recognize his own blindness.
|Commentary||The visually stunning pastoral scenes of streams, fields, and flowers provide an unexpected Iranian landscape and setting for illustrating the blind boy’s ability to see, hear, and feel in nature what many abled people cannot.|
|Leading Actors||Salime Feizi, Hossein Mahjub, Mohsen Ramezani, Elham Sharifi|
|Running Time||90 minutes|
|Video Source||Sony Picture Classics|
|Miscellaneous||Only Hossein Mahjub is a professional actor and Mohsen Bamezani is, in fact, blind. In Persian with subtitles (titled "Rang-e-Khoda").|
|Annotated by||Nixon, Lois LaCivita|
|Date of Entry||08/07/01|