23 user 44 critic

Blackboards (2000)

Takhté siah (original title)
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 »


Samira Makhmalbaf

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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Said Mohamadi Said Mohamadi ... Said
Behnaz Jafari ... Halaleh
Bahman Ghobadi ... Reeboir
Mohamad Karim Rahmati Mohamad Karim Rahmati ... Father
Rafat Moradi Rafat Moradi ... Ribvar
Mayas Rostami Mayas Rostami ... Young boy storyteller
Saman Akbari Saman Akbari ... Group leader
Ahmad Bahrami Ahmad Bahrami ... Marriage registrar
Mohamad Moradi Mohamad Moradi ... Match maker
Karim Moradi Karim Moradi ... Old man
Hassan Mohamadi Hassan Mohamadi ... Child
Rasool Mohamadi Rasool Mohamadi ... The boy porter
Somaye Veisee 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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


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Iran | Italy | Japan


Persian | Kurdish

Release Date:

1 September 2000 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackboards See more »

Filming Locations:

Kurdistan, Iran


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,417, 8 December 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,417, 8 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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.
See more »


Featured in Samira cheghoneh 'Takhté siah' rol sakht (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent !! Must watch !! Something which will make you remember.....
9 November 2017 | by contactphilosopherSee all my reviews

Blackboards -- Persian/Kurdish name تخته سیه -- takhte siyah, where تخته (takht) means board and سیه (siyah) is dark. I don't know anything about Persian but with my limited knowledge of Arabic I could make it out.

If you are looking for a charismatic film, with a flamboyant young hero, great action, sensuous, colorful heroine or for a great fighting sequence and men jumping out of a flight and your adrenaline pumping till the end of the movie -- you should NOT be watching this. This is my 2nd.film of Samira Makhmalbaf that I am watching after ' At 5 in the afternoon.' There is no point in comparing the 2 work of art but I would consider this film, as a real stroke of the genius.

If you are looking for a story line -- it has NOTHING, primarily Samira's and her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf does not have a specific story line. It is a journey - a journey of a Kurdish teacher during the 8 years long Iran- Iraq war which commenced in 1980.Said Mohamadi or Said is a Kurdish teacher, who carries at his back a blackboard - which in many ways become a symbol of love, war, marriage and separation. He carries the multiplication table of 2 and 3 and yearns to teach the young people. The film starts with a lot of teachers معلمان -- or 'mualamin' -- as you will hear the word quiet often in the film, walking on a rugged terrain of Iran, searching for students. They talk of desperation and frustration about the dearth of students. Is the director, Samira/Mohsen trying to put up an irony ? Who is willing to learn? Are we, the civilized people, living under favorable condition willing to learn? Then, why to blame the Kurds who struggle every moment for food and water willing to learn?

Then suddenly they hear the gun fire from the helicopters and the group disperses, each moving in their own direction. Said, then joins a group of people who are walking and Said promises to take them to the border. The deal got finalized over 45 walnuts !! The person in the group agrees to give it to Said once they reach the group. Samira Makhmalbaf, shows her ingenuity in selecting different characters in the group.

An old man, suffering from urinary problem, a woman carrying her child and few other people who are struggling for food, water, maladies of varied degrees. All those characters, are submerged into an unison -- fight for existence. Said is unable to find a single person who is willing to learn and faces the denial on a repetitive manner. Finally a young boy Reeboir agrees to learn. The film portrays Said as a altruist, who endangers his life to teach his students. When chased by the rebels, the film shows Said constantly uttering the multiplication table and the correct pronunciation of Reeboir, when clambering down the hills Said is rising and so his only student Reeboir.

The young boys, they call themselves mules are clueless about where they are going. They are not willing to learn.

The blackboard symobilzes the man's journey -- becomes an object of need when required. When a young boy falls down the cliff, Said's black board is cut into and given an aid to his amputated limb, as a support to dry clothing and a shelter to hide during the gunfire. Said gets married to Halaleh played by Behnaz Jafari just behind the blackboard and she asks her dowry -- a blackboard.

The film hovers around the struggle, suffering and mankind's zeal to survive under the most unfavorable conditions. I would not conclude the film here as there is a inconspicuous ending......What happens at the end is predictable but how it happens is what the genius of Samira and Mohsen Makhmalbaf shows us.

To me it is not just a film - it is actually what is happening and that is how it happens and that is what reality is. Reality in film is best shown here and we should rise up from the romanticism of our thoughts and embrace the truth.

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