In a wartorn, mountainous area on the border of Iranian Kurdistan, a group of teachers wander in search of students they can teach. After an attack by an army helicopter, two of the teachers, Saïd (Saeed Mohamadi) and Reeboir, (Bahman Ghobadi) split off from the main group. Reeboir meets a party of boys carrying stolen goods to be smuggled across the border; he tries to persuade them to accept him as a teacher. Meanwhile, Said joins up with a tribe of nomads from Iraq and offers to lead them to the border in exchange for walnuts, then uses his blackboard as dowry to marry Halaleh, (Behnaz Jafari) a woman in the tribe who\'s a mother with a young son.
 

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Kurdish teachers, carrying blackboards on their backs, look for students in the hills of Iran...

Blackboards, refers to the Blackboards that are carried on the backs of a group of schoolteachers, displaced men who trudge the border between Iran and Iraq looking for pupils to teach. We`re never told exactly why they`re there; the inference is that they`re Kurds who have no place in mainstream society. They`re forced to hide from choppers which patrol this mountainous region. One teacher, Reeboir, encounters a bunch of boys who work as beasts of burden, presumably smuggling goods across the border. Another, Said, meets a group of elderly men, many of them sick, looking for somewhere they can call home. One old man has a daughter and grandson and, in a strange ceremony, the woman marries Said with the blackboard as dowry...Blackboards is the second feature made by 20 year-old Samira Makhmalbaf, daughter of Moshem Makhmalbaf, and, like her amazing first film, The Apple, it has a strong documentary component. It`s an elliptical tale of hunted fugitives which builds to a truly frightening climax. One of the film`s most tender scenes has an old man ask a teacher to read a letter from his son; the letter is in Arabic and the teacher can`t understand it; but he makes up what he thinks the son might have written. Scenes like this, and the astonishing location photography, make Blackboards a unique and utterly fascinating experience.