Majid Majidi has always been interested in the world of childhood, which is why a good part of her films have focused on her in one way or another.
In 1997, ‘Niños del Paraíso’ achieved great international resonance and was nominated for an Oscars for best international film. The story of a little boy who loses his sister’s shoes and doesn’t dare tell his parents about it became a metaphor for a helpless childhood in Iran at the time.
Now he returns to the theme in ‘Hijos del Sol (Sun Children)’, a film that he presented at the last Venice festival and which is in charge of radiographing the situation of vulnerability of childhood in his country through three children who travel the streets looking for life and that are easy prey to be corrupted and exploited.
The protagonist is called Ali, he is an orphan and his mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Like his peers, he belongs to a generation devastated by uprooting after drugs ended up taking away his parents.
“It is a very serious issue in Iran, which is increasing and generating a very deep crisis,” says the director through zoom. “It attacks the poorest social class and inevitably ends up affecting children.”
‘Hijos del Sol (Sun Children)’ is responsible for highlighting all the miseries that this group of characters have to face and also portraying problems such as immigration from the Afghan community and the extremely fragile situation in which they are find.
But, in addition to being a denunciation film, Majid Majidi also wants to honor these children through an adventure story as if it were a kind of ‘The Goonies’ in Iran .
Thus, the gang will be immersed in the search for a hidden treasure under a cemetery that can only be accessed through the basements of an educational center dedicated to disadvantaged children. So there they will end up, searching underground but also learning in class.
“I believe in the transforming power of the new generations. The true treasure of this film is the children, a treasure far more valuable than any natural resource such as oil. They are being deprived of education, and thus the vicious cycle is perpetuated. We have to break this chain of slavery so that society has hope ”.
Majidi opted for natural actors to convey credibility. He did more than 3,000 auditions over four months and ended up casting real street kids , like Shamila (Zahra) and her brother (Aboulfazl), immigrants on film and in real life.
“For me children are not a simple instrument. They are a source of inspiration because they bring passion, originality, imagination. I will never tire of filming them, of having fun with them on set, because I have great respect for their sensitivity and delicacy, for their authenticity ”.