Samira Makhmalbaf emerges more sympathetically from his account of the filming of Takhté siah/ BLACKBOARDS than she does from the film itself. We see her anguished over what to do with the professional actor whose performance jars with the authentic locals she's using - he resigns resolving that one - and defending her status as a twenty year old film maker.
The film making here is more coherent than in the finished feature where no one seems to be worried about the cutting up of the teacher's board which appears back together in the next scene and then cut in half later. Details, like equating the mist with the chemical attacks which threaten the pilgrims, are present here and missing (at least in the translated version) from the end result.
The piece is protracted, with her success at Cannes, which takes more explaining than the feature or the documentary provide, shown as vindication.
Issues of nepotism aside, the spectacle of a twenty year old woman directing a movie standing in a freezing river in a chador is something not quickly forgotten.
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