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Les enfants de Belleville

· Film ·

Akbar, a 16 year old teenager, has been sent to prison after killing his girlfriend and attempting to take his own life.  At 18 years old he will face the death penalty unless his sister and best friend can convince his girlfriend’s father to forgive Akbar.  But he’s unyielding.  As a pious and religious Muslim he believes in the law of retribution:  a life for a life, the blood of the guilty for the blood of the victim.  This is also the law of Iran.  But is this the law of Allah?  Does Allah want vindication over forgiveness?  Asghar Farhadi, the director of Una Separazione ( A separation ), in Les enfants de Belleville (2004) deals with all the contradictions in Iran and the debate about religion in society.  We discover that a woman’s blood is worth half as much as a man’s blood, therefore Akbar can’t be condemned to death unless the victim’s father pays for the other half.  Farhadi shows men and women that are divided on the law of retribution and the law of forgiveness.  “Allah is omnipotent and merciful”, an imam says to the father who desires vindication, and again insists, “Allah is merciful”.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 29, 2020