Blackboards (Takhte Siah) review

The youngest film-maker to win the Cannes Grand Prix Du Jury, 20-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf has emerged as a leading light of the Iranian New Wave. Co-scripted with her father (director Mohsen), Blackboards follows two itinerant teachers looking for pupils in the mountains between Iran and Iraq.

Reeboir (Bahman Ghobadi) joins a whole caravan of children carrying contraband across the border, while Saïd (Saïd Mohamadi) encounters some elderly refugees looking for a way back into Iraq. Neither group has much interest in the teachers' services, so the blackboards they carry end up being used as stretchers, splints or as a dowry in Said's marriage to Halalheh (Behnaz Jafari).

Packed with incident and authentic detail, Blackboards provides a rare insight into life among some of the poorest people on Earth. Poignant and powerful, it's a fitting testament to their courage and resilience.

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