Perhaps because there were limitations on the kind of subject matter that Iranians could do in the late 90s, there are a couple wonderful, sweet but never sappy movies centered around children from this time period. There are no bad people in the movies, either. Both of these movies are in my Top Hundred Movies of All Time:
1) Badkonake Sefid (The White Balloon) 1995
This movie is not out on DVD yet. Boo! Find it on VHS and then dig out your VHS player, OK? The story is basically that the family has a goldfish pond and it's Iranian New Years and this apparently involves goldfish, so the girl wants to get a nice new one. So she is given a certain amount of money to buy a goldfish by her mom. She promptly drops it down the gutter and has to somehow get it. A boy with a white balloon somehow gets involved. Not a balloon with helium, like The Red Balloon, if I recall correctly. I think it's just a white balloon on a stick. Anyway. The whole story is the little girl losing her money and people trying her help her get her money and things going wrong and in the end, of course, everything ending up fine, but in a really, really magical way, and it's all taking place on a couple little narrow streets presumably in Tehran.
2)Bacheha-Ye aseman (Children of Heaven) 1997
Goldfish pond in this movie too, I think, but it's shoes at the center of this movie, not goldfish money. Father has trouble making ends meet. Boy is sent to pick up his sister's beat up old shoes from the cobbler who has repaired them. He does so, and then he puts them down for a second at the veggie seller's. A guy picking up trash picks up the bag the shoes are in, and then, a few seconds later, the boy sees the shoes are gone. Can't find them. The father can't buy more shoes. The kids are acutely aware of the pain they'd cause their dad were they to tell him, as he'd be shamed by his inability to afford new ones right away. SO they keep it a secret. The boy and girl share the boy's shoes. Again, there is seriously no simplistic plot crap you'd end up with in American movies. Everyone in the movie is basically good and kind and yet the plot and characters are a lot more realistic and not at all cliched or hackneyed.
Anyway. This is what happens when you go through Netflix looking for movies to add to your Queue.