Samira Makhmalbaf – Sib AKA The Apple (1998)

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This unusual Iranian documentary/drama is based on the true story of a poor and religious 65-year-old father who kept his two 12-year-old daughters locked in their small house from the day that they were born. Their blind mother agreed with the arrangement since she was unable to supervise them in any other way. Thanks to the concern of neighbors over the plight of Massoumeh and Zahra, a social worker looked into the matter and found the girls unable to talk or walk properly. They were given the first baths in their lives and then returned to their home. The father, believing that he has been publicly shamed by his neighbors, promises not to keep them imprisoned anymore. Continue reading Samira Makhmalbaf – Sib AKA The Apple (1998)

Samira Makhmalbaf – Takhté siah AKA Blackboards (2000)

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Review (DVDVerdict.com)

The irony at the center of Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf’s (The Apple) movie, Blackboards, is that basic education may have the power to radically improve the lives of the poor and nomadic Kurdish peoples of Iran and Iraq, but it’s dreadfully ineffective at addressing their immediate struggles to survive.

The picture opens with a gaggle of teachers making their way on foot through a dusty mountain pass in Iran, blackboards strapped to their backs, in search of students. Two of the teachers, Said (Said Mohamadi, Delbaran) and Reeboir (Bahman Ghobadi, writer-director of Marooned in Iraq), break away from the pack and then from each other. Said eventually falls in with a group of Kurdish refugees trying to make their way across the border into Iraq to return to their home town of Halebtcheh, which had previously suffered a chemical weapon attack at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Reeboir, meanwhile, runs into a group of young boys who work as “mules” in the criminal underground, running stolen goods back and forth between the Iran-Iraq border. Each man forms a bond with his new companions, though none of the struggling poor find their teaching skills particularly useful. Continue reading Samira Makhmalbaf – Takhté siah AKA Blackboards (2000)