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

 -  Drama | War  -  1 September 2000 (Italy)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,708 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 21 user | 42 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Blackboards (2000)

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Said Mohamadi ...
Said
...
Halaleh
...
Reeboir
Mohamad Karim Rahmati ...
Father
Rafat Moradi ...
Ribvar
Mayas Rostami ...
Young boy storyteller
Saman Akbari ...
Group leader
Ahmad Bahrami ...
Marriage registrar
Mohamad Moradi ...
Match maker
Karim Moradi ...
Old man
Hassan Mohamadi ...
Child
Rasool Mohamadi ...
The boy porter
Somaye Veisee ...
Little girl
Edit

Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

border | village | teacher | widow | contraband | See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

1 September 2000 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Blackboards  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$3,417 (USA) (6 December 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in How Samira Made the Blackboards (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Samira Makhmalbaf's second feature is downright rich: it's courageous, full of humanity, and sensitive understanding
6 February 2003 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

BLACKBOARDS is a human story - an arduous one at that. It affirms the tenacity of human spirits. Its hard medicine content could be uneasy for some to bear. At its core, there is warmth a-glowing beneath it all. Writer-director Samira Makhmalbaf is a true artist - she included subtle visual poetic accents. Shooting along the rugged terrain of Kurdistan, nearing the border between Iran and Iraq, it's barren of vegetation, full of treacherous rocks as people traverse the steep mountain paths and windy troughs. I really appreciate a particular detail scene: from the held wide-shot of a group of teachers with blackboards strapped to their backs, standing abreast at a mountain road clearing - paused, camera quietly cuts to a close-up of a pair of feet with 'billowing' fabric of the trousers. We need no sound effect of whistling wind, the shot was at once poetic and effective. How succinct and direct in expressing the moment, Samira did.

For a 20-year old woman Iranian director in her second feature film, Samira Makhmalbaf is awesome - sensitive, perceptive, mature in her viewpoint, with bold persistence against all odds to complete her project. Keen awareness of the state of affairs her film is focused on - not so much as making a political statement, she's more in earnest depicting simple everyday things: the mundane human needs of the wandering Nomads yearning to be home; the young 'mule' boys struggling for meager living yet looking out for each other; teachers seeking pupils in exchange for food. It's philosophical: through the course of the journey, the fate of the blackboards goes through transitions as situations demand - even "let go." Survival and adaptability co-exist.

Samira has a good mentor - her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who is a collaborator on the writing of "Blackboards" and her first feature, "Apple, The" 1998 (a bold unique storytelling in docu-drama format). She also has the expert assistance of cinematographer Ebrahim Ghafori, who previously worked with her on "Apple." Bahman Ghobadi is the actor who portrayed the teacher who ran into the expedition of the young 'mule' boys with contraband goods on their backs. He was the writer-director-producer of the film "A Time for Drunken Horses" 2000, and here in "Blackboards," it's déjà vu - this time is not of snowy setting, but included brief dramatic storyline between him and the boys. Reality is still bitter truth, but Samira kept the element of humanity intact.

Other efforts from the Makhmalbaf family include: "Day I Became A Woman, The" 2000 by Marzieh Meshkini, Mohsen's wife. "How Samira Made the Blackboards" (it'd be interesting to see how Samira shot the film in such arduous circumstances and with mostly non-professional cast with wide age differences) by Mezssam Makhmalbaf, Samira's brother. Father Mohsen Makhmalbaf did "Gabbeh" 1996 and "Kandahar" 2001.

More Iranian films? Try writer-director Majid Majidi's "Baran" 2001 - a poignant story about a young man (17-year old) in Tehran, how he matures through his deeds in trying to help an illegal Afghan of a poor family - it's a rich human story from the filmmaker who gave us "Color of Paradise" 2000 and "Children of Heaven" 1999.


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