There are always certain films that leave a mark upon us. Majid Majidi’s The Color of Paradise is one of those films; even if it doesn’t make you cry, its innocence and beauty profoundly affects you.
The Color of Paradise is a simple, yet powerful story of a blind young boy, Mohamed who is a student boarder at an institute for the blind in Tehran. His father, Hashem who is a widower, two sisters (Haniyeh and Bahareh) and his paternal grandmother (who everyone affectionately calls Aziz) live in a village up in the mountains near Tehran. The father is planning to marry a woman and he hasn’t told her or her family about Mohamed. So he tries to find ways to get rid of his son.
Meanwhile, Mohamed is ecstatic to be home for the summer and to meet his sisters and grandmother after being away for a long time. What he doesn’t know is that his father wants to get rid of him so he can remarry a woman in the village. At least it is not apparent to him until much later in the film when he’s being taken away by his father who wants to apprentice him to a well-known blind carpenter in the vicinity.
The real beauty of the film lies in those little moments of the film where we see Mohamed at one with the nature around him. Even in the city, he is still at one with nature. And why should he not be? He is closer to the wind, the plants, the birds and animals around him than we, the sighted, could ever be. When he travels to his village accompanied by his father, there are moments where Mohamed is lost in his own little world, trying to find God around him. He takes a rock, sand from a seashore, a weed or two and ‘reads’ as if he were reading his Braille books. This continues when he gets to his village where he visits the fields on the surrounding mountainside with his grandmother.
Mohamed meets his litte sister after returning to his village.
Mohamed finally finds God in the last scene as his lifeless body lies in his father’s arm. The clouds break and sunlight shines upon the father and son after a long spell of relentless rain and subsequent floods. When the sunlight falls upon Mohamed’s hand, it starts to move in the familiar rhythm, as if he is ‘reading’ the signs that God is near him. Then his hand turns around so that his palm his facing the sunlight, as if God has held his hand…