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

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,884 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 17 critic

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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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Forugh Farrokhzad ...
Narrator (uncredited)
Ebrahim Golestan ...
Narrator (uncredited)
Hossein Mansouri ...
Himself (uncredited)
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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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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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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Quotes

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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User Reviews

 
A Wiseman-esque documentary in a country that needs more cinematic attention
27 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Even with the high popularity of foreign cinema amongst certain groups of cinephiles, I still can't help but feel one of the many countries to get shafted is Iran and its cinematic efforts. Many countries have had some kind of "New Wave" movement in cinema, where age-old, traditionalist ideas are broken and more daring, unconventional works begin to populate the cinematic market, and Iran's New Wave seems to have gotten greatly shortchanged to being a footnote. For one thing, I consistently find myself being impressed with Iranian filmmaking, as I find that for many different audiences, especially American, it offers a window to a country many people unfairly stereotype or simplify, almost as if those residing in the country are useless subhumans. Furthermore, one of the first films in Iran's New Wave, which started in the early 1960's, was Forough Farrokhzad's twenty-minute short film The House is Black, a somber, somewhat poetic documentary fixated around the Behkadeh Raji leper colony, the first of its kind in Iran. Farrokhzad films various patients in this leper colony, with occasional narrations talking about the treatment for the disease and how these colonies - while initially seeming like isolationist practices - have actually helped out in treating this disease. Leprosy is a condition that greatly affects the skin, can result in the numbing of senses, the deterioration of your immune system, and even body parts like toes and fingers to shorten and become stunted. While it's an ugly disease, Farrokhzad dares explore the beauty of human condition in The House is Black, placing a magnifying glass on this specific colony, while emphasizing that there is all different kinds of beauty in the human race. Punctuated by readings of the Old Testament, the Muslim holy-book the Qur'an, and even original poetry by Farrokhzad, The House is Black treads similar ground to the lengthy, American-made documentaries by industry-veteran Frederick Wiseman, who has erected his career off of observational documentaries on some of the most elusive institutions such as a mental hospital, a horse-racing track, and institutes that help the mentally-handicapped. Here is a film that kicks off a colossal, revolutionary movement in cinema and can be talked about on a level that isn't simply adhering to its technical innovations but its story and its commentary on human beauty and the diversity that plagues it.

Directed by: Forough Farrokhzad.


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