The Blackboard (Takhte Siah) (2000) Film. Director : Samira Makhmalbaf

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? (Imdb)

In Northern Iran, close to the Iraki border, a small group of persons walks painfully, carrying big blackboards on their backs. They are schoolmasters looking for pupils… Quite an utopian initiative in a war-torn region where people’s major concern is mere survival. At a crossroad, the schoolmasters have to separate in order to take shelter from a heavy bombing. Among them is Reeboir who soon meets a group of child smugglers. He tries to teach them who to read and write. In another village, his colleague Saïd meets a group of elder people who try to return to their home village. He also meets a young widow. He tries to teach her and to maker her understand his feelings… Samira Makhmalbaf’s second film (after her award-winning SibThe Apple) shows the excdeptional talent of a very young director, trained by her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf. (Mubi)

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