Video Picks Archive

August 2, 2000
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <>

This week my picks are Bacheha-Ye aseman (Children of Heaven) (1997 - ) and Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief) (1948 - ).

The first film this week is a warm and charming family picture from Iran, believe it or not. Director Majid Majidi is finding great success outside his own country with his child-oriented films, including the current Color of Paradise. Children of Heaven, his previous work, is about a young boy (Amir Farrokh Hashemian) who loses his sister's (Bahare Seddiqi) shoes after getting them repaired. Their father (Mohammad Amir Naji) can't afford new ones, so they have to share a single pair of sneakers in order to go to school. Hashemian, Seddiqi, and Naji all make impressive debuts in this beautiful, touching film. It's now priced to own on video, and would make a great alternative to watching The Lion King for the 1,134th time. It was also the first film from Iran to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Any film buff should immediately see how similar Children of Heaven is to the second film. If not, then this so-called buff has never seen The Bicycle Thief, a brilliant film that has often been called the greatest film ever made. Vittorio De Sica's neorealist masterpiece takes place in post-war Italy, where a young father (Lamberto Maggiorani) has his bicycle stolen right after getting a job putting up posters, which requires him to have his own bike. He and his son (Enzo Staiola) search the city for this object which is now necessary for their survival. If this film doesn't break your heart, you might not have one. It certainly caught the Academy's attention, winning the Best Foreign Film Award (before it was a regular category).

For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Bacheha-Ye aseman (1997)
Ladri di biciclette (1948)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Children of Heaven (1999) - English subtitles -- VHS
The Bicycle Thief (1949) - English subtitles -- VHS
The Bicycle Thief (1949) -- DVD Home
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