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The House Is Black (1963)

Khaneh siah ast (original title)
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.

Director:

Forugh Farrokhzad
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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Details

Country:

Iran

Language:

Persian

Release Date:

24 February 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The House Is Black See more »

Filming Locations:

Bababaghi Hospice, Tabriz, Iran

Company Credits

Production Co:

Studio Golestan See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It became 19th in The Sight & Sound Top 50 Greatest documentaries of All Time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: There is no shortage of ugliness in the world. If man closed his eyes to it, there would be even more. But man is a problem solver.
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User Reviews

A brief glimpse of life on a leper colony.
16 April 2003 | by ltanner-1See all my reviews

`There is no shortage of ugliness in the world.' the opening voice-over states as we see a horribly disfigured woman staring into a mirror. And by the film's end, we truly get an understanding of what she means.

`Khaneh siah ast' (The House is Black), written, directed and edited in 1963 by Forugh Farrokhzad is a brilliant piece of work done on an issue that has hardly been portrayed in any kind of film, fiction or non. Filmed in B&W on location somewhere on a Middle Eastern island, the film portrays a rapid series of events during the everyday lives of all of its inhabitants that are suffering from various stages of leprosy.

Cinematographer Soleiman Minasian uses mainly natural light and captures the pure essence of what living with leprosy is actually like. It is very startling. All the more startling due to Farrokhzad's rapid editing and cutting and disorienting flash-pans. And although the film is a documentary, there are certain scenes, which are entirely fabricated and contrived. One scene in particular is an actual tracking shot through a classroom where there is a coherent edited sequence of dialogue spoken between a teacher and his student. And although no one in the film is an actor, the scene was indeed scripted.

The reason the film is so brilliant is because Farrokhzad juxtaposes the images with extremely religious voice-over narration. Each individual that has leprosy prays to God and gives thanks for being alive in this world. It is harshly ironic that all living lepers are giving thanks and praise to a God that forces them to live through painful physical suffering everyday of their life.

They say leprosy is a curable disease, however, the impact and feeling you get from experiencing this film, is not.


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