Blackboards

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September 28, 2008 23:42  |  1 Comment

Takhte Siah| Iran | 2000 | 85 mins | Colour | PG | Kurdish with English subs

Di daerah Kurdistan, perbatasan Iran dan Irak, segerombolan guru melangkah gontai tanpa tujuan. Di tiap punggung mereka menggantung satu papan tulis yang digunakan untuk “mendidik” sekaligus untuk melindungi diri dari bom. Seolah-olah sepasang sayap lumpuh yang tidak berguna, bahkan memberatkan dan kikuk. Meskipun atmosfirnya cenderung pesimis, ada banyak adegan (black,) deadpanned humour mewarnai film ini. Di tengah-tengah gurun yang rawan dan kejam, dengan “murid-murid” penyelundup dan pelarian yang tidak punya waktu untuk “pendidikan” maupun “budaya”, tujuan “mulia” mereka tampak begitu menggelikan dan futil. “Pendidikan” — terutama non-oral (membaca & menulis) — direduksi menjadi komoditas yang tidak berguna ketika semua orang berjuang mempertahankan hidup. Seruan-seruan klise untuk meningkatkan kesejahteraan melalui pendidikan menjadi tidak berbeda dari rayuan-rayuan gombal penjaja barang. Saïd kemudian bertemu dengan grup nomaden yang bertujuan kembali ke tanah kelahiran mereka melewati perbatasan, ia menawarkan diri menjadi penunjuk jalan, sementara papan tulisnya ditawarkan sebagai mas kawin sekaligus alat pengangkut mertuanya. Penonton disodori absurditas dan satir yang mengejek dalam adegan pernikahan: di tengah-tengah peresmian pernikahan yang dibuat dadakan, sang istri dengan acuhnya memipiskan anaknya (sementara ayahnya sendiri mengalami kesulitan pipis akut). Usaha-usaha Saïd untuk mengajari istri dan anaknya membaca dan menulis tidak dianggap (apalagi menidurinya). Adegan akhir film ini — di mana mereka bercerai dan sang istri berjalan menjauh membawa papan tulisnya — menyentuh dalam kesia-siaannya.

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira Makhmalbaf

Seperti kebanyakan film Iranian New Wave, film ini dibuat dengan menggunakan aktor non-professional, kamera tangan dan budget minim, menghasilkan suatu film yang mengaburkan batas fiksi dan dokumenter, tapi juga sarat imaji puitis. Di usianya yang ke-18 Samira menjadi sutradara termuda yang pernah berpartisipasi dalam kompetisi internasional Cannes dengan film debutnya The Apple. Sukses memenangkan gelar Jury Prize di Cannes 2000 dengan Blackboards, di tahun 2003, putri dari Mohsen Makhmalbaf ini kembali menyabet Jury Prize dengan At Five in the Afternoon. Meskipun pada awalnya banyak skeptis yang menganggap The Apple tak lebih dari hasil kerja dan pengaruh ayahnya, Blackboards membuktikan kepiawaian Samira sebagai sutradara muda yang handal. Dalam bukunya Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future, Hamid Dabashi bahkan menyatakan karya Samira menggebrak pretensi karya-karya “old masters” Iran, termasuk Dariush Mehrjui, Abbas Kiarostami, dan ayahnya sendiri, Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Setuju ataupun tidak, yang jelas karya-karya sutradara muda ini wajib kamu tonton.

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Tertarik dengan film-film Iran? Kami punya film-film Dariush Mehrjui, Forugh Farrokhzad, Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bahram Beizai, Bahman Farmanara… informasi lebih lanjut silahkan kontak kami atau berkunjung langsung.


Takhte Siah| Iran | 2000 | 85 mins | Colour | PG | Kurdish with English subs

In Kurdistan, the border between Iran and Iraq, a band of teachers are trudging through a barren area, seemingly without directions, each with a rickety blackboard on their back like useless, clumsy wings. Even though the atmosphere is pessimistic, there are plenty of (black,) deadpanned humour colouring this film. In the midst of this heartless desert, with their “students” — smugglers and nomads — worrying more about their life, uninterested in the supposedly higher calling of “education” and “culture”, their “virtuous” endeavour becomes futile, even ridiculous. “Education”, or “culture” — especially the non-oral (reading & writing) — is reduced into yet another useless commodity. The usual cliches for the value of education becomes no different from any other cheap sales cajoling. Saïd offers his guiding service to a group of nomads trying to return to their homeland to die, and his blackboard is turned into a carrier for an old man as well as a dowry for the old man’s daughter. With ingenious, satirical nonchalance, the wife indifferently waits for her son to piss during the ceremony (while her own father is having painful difficulties pissing). She pays no attention to Saïd’s attempts to teach her some writings and readings, let alone to sleep with her. The last scene of this film — where they divorced and the wife walked away with the blackboard dowry — bores indelible impressions.

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira Makhmalbaf

Like many other Iranian New Wave (or perhaps Poetic Realism, if you like), this film used non-professional actors, hand-held cameras and minimum budget, creating a film that blurs the line between fiction and documentary, yet also brimming with poetic images. At the age of 18 Samira became the youngest director ever participated in the international Cannes Film Festival with her debut The Apple. After winning the Jury Prize in Cannes 2000 with Blackboards, in 2003, she again won the Jury Prize with At Five in the Afternoon. Although many sceptics initially dismissed The Apple as no more than the work and influence of her famouse father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, with Blackboards Samira showed herself as a talented filmmaker in her own right. In his book Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future, Hamid Dabashi even declared that Samira cuts through the pretensions that plagued the “overbloated” “old masters” of Iran, including Dariush Mehrjui, Abbas Kiarostami, and her own father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

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Interested in Iranian films? We have various titles by Dariush Mehrjui, Forugh Farrokhzad, Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bahram Beizai, Bahman Farmanara… for more information, ask us or visit us at c2o!

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: Founding director, c2o library & collabtive. Currently also working in Singapore as a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Opinions are hers, and do not represent/reflect her employer(s), institution(s), or anyone else with whom she may be remotely affiliated.
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