Blackboards (2000)
"Takhté siah" (original title)

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Itinerant Kurdish teachers, carrying blackboards on their backs, look for students in the hills and villages of Iran, near the Iraqi border during the Iran-Iraq war. Said falls in with a ... See full summary »


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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview:
Said Mohamadi ...
Mohamad Karim Rahmati ...
Rafat Moradi ...
Mayas Rostami ...
Young boy storyteller
Saman Akbari ...
Group leader
Ahmad Bahrami ...
Marriage registrar
Mohamad Moradi ...
Match maker
Karim Moradi ...
Old man
Hassan Mohamadi ...
Rasool Mohamadi ...
The boy porter
Somaye Veisee ...
Little girl


Itinerant Kurdish teachers, carrying blackboards on their backs, look for students in the hills and villages of Iran, near the Iraqi border during the Iran-Iraq war. Said falls in with a group of old men looking for their bombed-out village; he offers to guide them, and takes as his wife Halaleh, the clan's lone woman, a widow with a young son. Reeboir attaches himself to a dozen pre-teen boys weighed down by contraband they carry across the border; they're mules, always on the move. Said and Reeboir try to teach as their potential students keep walking. Danger is close; armed soldiers patrol the skies, the roads, and the border. Is there a role for a teacher? Is there hope? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


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Release Date:

1 September 2000 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Blackboards  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,417 (USA) (6 December 2002)


$3,417 (USA) (6 December 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Halaleh: [to Said] My heart is like a train. At every station, someone gets on or off. But there is someone who never gets off. My son.
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Featured in How Samira Made the Blackboards (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Trying to teach under impossible circumstances.
3 November 2002 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

This wonderful movie (shown here as "Blackboards") demonstrates the power of cinema to communicate circumstances and situations that are totally alien to those of us watching in comfort during a U.S. film festival.

The Director/Screenwriter, Samira Makhmalbaf, literally learned her trade at her father's elbow. He taught her well. Makhmalbaf was only twenty years old when she made this movie, but she has already acquired the skilled director's eye for filmmaking.

The locale in which the film is set is totally alien to me. The mountains of Iran offer stones and more stones. I believe this is the first picture I have ever seen where there is not a single image of a tree or even a green plant. The mountains are made of rocks, and the homes are made of rocks, and most of the characters in the the films spend their time climbing up, down, and between the rocks.

In this incredibly harsh, barren, non-nurturing environment, two young teachers carry blackboards on their backs and try to find someone--anyone--who wants to learn to read and write, and who can pay for this instruction.

Obviously, the teachers are motivated by their basic needs for food, water, and shelter, but--like all good teachers-- they are also motivated by the desire to teach.

Each teacher attaches himself to a group of people moving across a border. (I was never sure which border this was--I think it was from Iran to Iraq.)

Each group has endured hardship and tragedy, and their journeys are filled with the threat of danger. Despite this, the teachers continue their attempts to teach.

This movie was not only powerful, but it was informative. Anyone who thinks the mountains of Iran are more or less like the mountain meadows Julie Andrews encountered when she sang "The hills are alive with the sound of music," needs to see "Blackboards." Despite this hardship, human beings survive, and their desire to learn and to teach survives as well.

An amazing film--not to be missed!


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