Blackboards – 35mm

12 March
Location informationArc Cinema
Event cost$12/ $10 (season pass $60/$50)

Set on the border of Iran and Iraq during war in the 1980s, Blackboards follows a group of poor teachers - blackboards strapped to their backs - as they attempt to educate young Kurdish children. Mostly orphaned and living in extreme poverty, these children are too busy working as smugglers to be convinced about the worth of education.  

Filmed in the rugged mountainous terrain of Kurdistan with a cast of primarily non-professional actors and Kurdish refugees, Blackboards uses the most economic means of mise-en-scène and editing to create a powerful evocation of the terror of war.  

The bonds between men and women and the sanctity of childhood are all shown as precarious in a context where chemical bombs and machine guns can destroy a whole community. As the teachers join the increasing number of refugees fleeing across the border, we are confronted with one of cinema’s most moving expressions of the madness of war.  

Director Samira Makhmalbaf won the Grand Prix at Cannes aged just 21, the youngest director ever to win the award.  

‘A heartening tale of small victories and enduring hope’ - San Francisco Chronicle.



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