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12-year-old Ali (Roohollah Zamani) and his pals are working hard to survive and support their families by doing small jobs in a garage and even committing petty crimes on the streets of Tehran. Ali sees big opportunity when the shady garage boss entrusts him to put together a team and uncover a treasure that is buried underground. Now, Ali and his young recruits must enroll in the Sun School, a charitable institution committed to educating street kids and child laborers. The school’s basement provides a direct line to the fortune and the gang’s biggest challenge is sneaking away to dig undetected below the classrooms. Working with non-professional juvenile performers, director/co-screenwriter Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven) has succeeded wildly in merging a contemporary Iranian neorealist drama with the language of escape and heist movies. One of Sun Children’s key visual references appears to be Jacques Becker’s 1960 prison break classic Le Trou, and Majidi has captured the suspense of that film by similarly guiding the viewer to identify with the criminal protagonists. Ultimately, though, the deeply humane Sun Children reveals itself to be less concerned with crime and punishment but invested in the well-being of the titular characters and vulnerable kids everywhere. “Gripping. Majidi has made some of the most visually stunning and emotionally stirring films in world cinema about the plight of under-privileged, exploited and abused young people, and Sun Children is one of his very best” (Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter). Winner, 2020 Venice Film Festival Lanterna Magica Award and Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor. (JH)

Presented with support from UW-Madison Middle East Studies Program.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    99 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Majid Majidi
  • Screenwriter
    Majid Majidi, Nima Javidi
  • Cast
    Rouhollah Zamani, Ali Nasirian, Javad Ezzati, Mahdi Mousavi
  • Cinematographer
    Hooman Behmanesh
  • Editor
    Hassan Hassandoust
  • Music
    Ramin Kousha