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Review | 'Sun Children' brings valuable lessons from streets of Tehran

Sun Children | Dir: Majid Majidi | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

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The dedication at the beginning of the film is to “the 152 million children forced into child labour and all those who fight for their rights” and the cast for this film is largely drawn from the kids who live in the streets of Tehran.

At the centre of the drama is 12 year old Ali (Roohollah Zamani) who heads a small gang as they steal tyres from expensive cars in an underground parking area at the shopping centre. Ali and his three accomplices are continually on edge as people walk by with their expensive purchases and security guards patrol on the lookout for trouble.

The kids work for crime boss Hashem (Ali Nasirian) who spends most of his time on a rooftop with his homing pigeons, and we see the obvious the parallels of how Hashem keeps the pigeons and the kids loyal to him. He tells Ali about buried treasure in the drainage pipes that run underneath a school and instructs Ali and his friends to sign up for classes so they can gain access to the aqueduct.

While Ali’s mother it tied to a bed at a psychiatric hospital, Ali and his friends attend classes at The School of the Sun – which provides places for street kids who are denied places in Iran’s public education system.

Escaping to the basement to dig out the tunnels is full of danger, and the danger of getting caught is minimal compared to what could lurk in the mud, the murky water and the unreinforced walls to the underground tunnels … seeking a questionable treasure.

As the kids tunnel deeper, Majidi reveals that each one has a story of their own, and the school itself is struggling and facing imminent closure through a lack of funds. While we wish for a happy ending and a treasure at the end of the tunnel, it is more realistic that we are taught some valuable lessons along the way, thanks to the magnificent cast of street kids.

Sun Children screens at Somerville from Monday 22 February – Sunday 28 February as part of the Perth Festival. See perthfestival.com.au for more information.

Lezly Herbert


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