April 21, 2016No Comments

Blackboards, Samira Makhmalbaf, 2000

***On the Iraq-Iran border, a group of wandering, jobless teachers walk the mountain paths looking for villages to hire them. They carry big blackboards on their backs and hide from military men. On another side of the mountain, a large group of old men, refugees of war probably, try to reach their home village, so that they can die in peace.

Sometimes you drop on to a fiction film that’s so out of touch with the conventions of ordinary fiction, that presents such an unbelievable and strange world that they transcend their genre and they become showcases, live documentaries about films of fiction.

Motion, people and object moving, transportation, physically moving narratives are hypnotic on camera, I could stare for days at POV’s of cars moving. Maybe because they tap into the primordial vein of the medium -» moving pictures.

For the Western cultural space & time, the characters and action from Blackboards feel way stranger and harder to decode than those of Star Wars. Ain’t it ironic to our perceptions that Iranian cinema, coming from an islamic republic, from a totalitarian regime, is probably the most humanistic cinema in the world? 

Screen it before every G7, Davos and other square places like that!

  • the old man that cannot piss, and is carried by his friends
  • the boy smugglers that hide between the goats of a herd
  • the roadside wedding
  • the symbolism of the blackboards used for teaching, sheltering from bullets, as a stretcher for the sick, as splints for a broken leg
  • the profound, deep deep deep humanity of it all.


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