(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
(#29) The Color of Paradise
Drama • dir. Majid Majidi • 1999 • Iran
Think of five films that made you cry. I’ll do it too. One: Midnight Cowboy. Dustin Hoffman on the bus to Miami, quietly dying next to his one true friend. Two: Kramer Vs. Kramer. Hoffman again (!) learning how to love his young son, then gradually realizing he couldn’t live without him. Three: It’s a Wonderful Life. A small-town community rallying in support of Jimmy Stewart, to prevent a run on the family owned Building and Loan. Four: Dead Poets Society. “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Five: Dancer in the Dark. The long, unhurried execution scene. For any of these, did I feel somehow duped – the victim of emotional manipulation? Was I embarrassed to cry? Was I awkward and self-conscious? No, no, and a third time, no! At the movies, I love to have a good cry every now and then. Frankly, now that I’m a parent, it often doesn’t even take an awful lot.
How about you and your five? (It could so easily be a longer list, right?) You may be harder of heart than I, but still I’d wager films do come along that get to you and that, when they do, it feels good. Sure, the history of cinema is full of crass and mawkish tearjerkers that have sold more than their fair share of popcorn. But thankfully it’s not short of great storytelling, either – nor characters and actors we root for mightily in the never-ending hope that their circumstances may improve… whatever filthy odds they must try to overcome. Quality, sentimental filmmaking that steers clear of being saccharine can be about as satisfying as it gets. And there can’t be many better examples than The Color of Paradise, the simple story of a blind boy trying to find his place in the world and in his father’s heart. A truly stunning and beautiful film: seek it out, watch it, and cry – you’ll never feel more alive. (I’d happily live without its final shot, but that’s just me.)