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Blackboards (2000)

Cast: Bahman Ghobadi, Bahman Ghobadi, Behnaz Jafari, more...
Director: Samira Makhmalbaf, Samira Makhmalbaf
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Fox Lorber
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Middle East, Iran
Running Time: 85 min.
Subtitles: English
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Samira Makmalbaf makes her sophomore feature outing with this bold, elliptical look at the plight of marginalized populations in modern Iran. The film opens with a group of Kurdish teachers lugging blackboards on their backs in the rocky hinterland looking for illiterates to educate. The group splits up in a panic when they are suddenly confronted by a helicopter border patrol. Two pedagogues, Reeboir (Bahman Ghobadi) and Said (Said Mohamadi), camouflage their chalkboards with mud and take separate paths. Reeboir runs into a bevy of semi-feral adolescent boys who look haggard beyond their years; they spent their entire lives hauling (smuggled) goods through harrowing mountain passes. Reeboir tries to convince the lads that they should learn to read, but he is firmly rebuffed. Meanwhile, Said stumbles upon a wizened old man with a urinary problem and an attractive widowed daughter. Said eventually marries the woman, using his blackboard as dowry. Makmalbaf manages to imbue the film with a mood of fear and loss, making the characters' indomitable spirit all the more moving. This film was screened in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • "Making-of" Documentary
  • Production Notes
  • Filmographies

GreenCine Member Reviews

Boring yet sweet by NMalik August 11, 2004 - 7:09 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
It moved rather slow. Had to deal with the repetitive english translations. Still there was a sentimental human aspect about the film. Felt sorry yet angry for the poor ambitious yet simple-minded teacher who walked around with a huge blackboard on his back. Helped some kurdish refugees cross the border from Iran to Iraq. Some iranian films are famous for their utter simplicity. This is one of those films.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.50)
32 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2000
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Iranian Directors: The Makhmalbafs and Kiarostami
These writer/directors provide us with socio-political commentary of Iran and the Middle East, through simple, yet deeply insightfull filmmaking. I'll add Samira Makhmalbaf's "The Apple" if/when it comes out on dvd.

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