The Children of the Sun, the 400 pickaxes

CRITICAL – Bursting with life, Majid Majidi’s film follows street kids in Tehran in search of treasure.

Ali and his three friends, 12 years old for the biggest, love cars and racing. Except that they de-bone the first to sell the pieces, and running is mainly used to escape the police. Their parents died, junkies or in prison. These lovable toddlers roam the streets of Tehran together, in the shadow of the adults who mistreat them and looking for a way to earn a few rials.

Ali, still dumbfounded and his pockets full of bad tricks, joined the already crowded benches of a school for street children. Where we try to offer them a semblance of education. Their fairs are more festive than ours. There are some great scenes. These funny schoolchildren have things to teach us, thinks one of the teachers, who cannot stand the injustice of their condition. An old man with gaunt arms, playfully embodied by Ali Nassirian, offers them a “Big blow”: a treasure buried not far from the school. There will be twists and turns …

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