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The House Is Black (1963)
"Khaneh siah ast" (original title)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,319 users  
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Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness," of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

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Title: The House Is Black (1963)

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Uncredited cast:
Forugh Farrokhzad ...
Narrator (uncredited)
Ebrahim Golestan ...
Narrator (uncredited)
Hossein Mansouri ...
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Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness," of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

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Documentary | Short

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Release Date:

24 February 2008 (UK)  »

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The House Is Black  »

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1.37 : 1
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Narrator: I said, if I had wings of a dove I would fly away and be at rest. I would go far away and take refuge in the desert. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. For I have seen misery and wickedness on Earth.
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The Miracle of the World, Even in Extrem Ugliness
25 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It was the only movie made by Forough Farrokhzad.

A documentary of 20 minutes length; actually it is a documentary only at the first level of meaning: the disturbing images from a leper colony are meditated in verses that partner what's flowing on the screen. Fragments from Psalms, from Koran, from her own poetry. And her stanzas, sometimes in sync with the images, some times in counterpoint, always challenging the versets from the sacred books. One of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, that's what I believe Forough Farrokhzad is.

This movie is a cinematic poem: empathy for the extreme suffering, desolation that we cannot escape from our condition, and, in the same time, awe in face of the beauty of creation.

I think the key of the movie is done by two verses:

Who is this in hell Praising you, O Lord?

The hell is also part of the world; and it is ultimately beautiful because world is beautiful.

This is extraordinary here in the movie: the subtle impulse to see the Universe as beautiful in all its dimensions, even in its ugliest expressions - to see the splendor of the human condition, even in its most horrible shape.

Or maybe the verses tell us something slightly different: as they are in turn fearful, desolate, bitter, pessimistic, sarcastic against God and praising God, it is here the honesty and the courage of the poet to recognize having all these contradictory feelings. And this speaks indeed about the splendor of the human condition: to encompass everything, to assume all contradictions, to be their sovereign - as the Universe is.


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