We talk here all the time about shoes, and our shared love for them. We have discussed, at length, the comparative value of form vs. function and acknowledged that the love of shoes can be described as one of life’s great pleasures: sometimes honest, but quite frequently guilty.
However, we don’t often discuss the basic necessity of footwear. Jitterbugbaby touched on it recently in her post about WWII shoe-rationing. She explained that, during that time, people were allotted only 3 pairs of shoes per year. This reality led me to think about just how important shoes actually are. Regardless of how high or low, bedecked, bedazzled, or basic they are, they protect our feet from the elements and make it possible for us to transport ourselves from place to place. In the US, for most of us, we have pairs for all occasions.
Recently, I watched a wonderful Iranian movie called Children of Heaven. It tells a story of about a poor family with two young children in Tehran. Each family member has one pair of shoes, as shoes are an expensive commodity. One day Ali, the boy, takes his sister’s shoes to be repaired but loses them on the way home. The children know that the family cannot afford a new pair, so they share Ali’s shoes and try to figure out how to get another pair without telling their parents.
Though the protagonists are children, it is not a movie for children. Also, despite the setup, it is not depressing. It is a touching and beautifully done movie and was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998.
Here is a clip of the first ten minutes of the film: