Genre:  Drama
Running Time:  84 min.
Release Date: January 17, 2003
DVD: November 30, 2004

Current rating: Rating: 3.20
based on 23 votes and 3 reviews
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Cast: Bahman Ghobadi, Said Mohamadi, Behnaz Jafari


A group of male teachers crosses the mountainous paths of the remote Iranian Kurdistan region. Carrying large blackboards on their backs, they wander from village to village in search of students.

The sudden menacing sound of overhead helicopters forces the men to run and seek refuge from an unseen enemy... One teacher, Reeboir, ventures away from the group and confronts a group of adolescent boys who dangerously transport contraband goods between Iran and Iraq.

Reeboir tries to convince the boys of the advantages of learning to read and write, but none of them are interested. There is no time for reading. They are too busy risking their lives to survive... Said, another teacher also now traveling alone, arrives in a seemingly deserted village. No one responds to his calls soliciting his services as a teacher.

He persists, but is greeted only by slamming doors and windows... Said later meets a group of 100 or so old men accompanied by a sole young woman and child. They, too, are closed and uninterested in learning.

Tired and hungry, the old men aimlessly continue their search to return to their native land to die in peace... One of the old men feels he can only find peace if his young widowed daughter, Halaleh, marries before his death. Said has only his blackboard to offer in exchange for her hand in marriage...

Director: Samira Makhmalbaf
Studio: Mongrel Media
Producer(s): Marco Muller
Screenplay: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Samira Makhmalbaf

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