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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.


Forugh Farrokhzad

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


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


Documentary | Short







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


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


[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

Takes you to a place no one will normally see.
18 June 2011 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

Quite surprising to see a documentary like this coming from the country Iran. You wouldn't think they would be too happy of showing leper patients and colonies to the entire world but yet this documentary managed to get made and released and is still globally considered to be an important one and is seen as the beginning of Iranian new wave.

It isn't really a documentary that tries to tell or story or gets a point across but it's more one that simply shows you things with its images. The visuals tell all you need to know. It shows the effects of leprosy on people of all ages and in all its various stages, also in its most gruesome and devastating forms.

It still does provide some information on the disease, to learn the Iranian people about it and make them aware of the decease and the fact that there are leper colonies in the country, in which people are living a normal as possible life and are also receiving treatment and going to school.

In that regard this is also somewhat of a more hopeful documentary, rather than a depressing one that shows you unhappy and incredibly sick or suffering people, who are waiting for their deaths. The documentary even makes it very clear that the decease is indeed curable and is not something that is inherited, so it's something that can be banned out completely with time, when taken the right precautions.

The hopefulness and thankfulness gets also illustrated by the many Koran lines that got put over the documentary and were delivered by the people with leprosy. In it they thank their God for everything they have. Or is there perhaps some reversed deeper meaning to it, trying to make a statement about the treatment of leper sufferers and the ruling power that puts them in these colonies. But this is something we often assume is the case with any movie/documentary coming out from a country that at the time suffers from an oppressing power or government. Perhaps we shouldn't read too much into it and simply appreciate the documentary for what it clearly is on its surface. Still the movie its very last shot makes me think it was a sort of a protest movie as well.

But even when you don't get that out of this documentary or don't want to read too much into things, you should be able than more to appreciate this documentary, since of the entire way it got shot and told. It has some great, beautiful, black & white cinematography, as well as a pleasant quick editing style and directing approach by female director Forugh Farrokhzad, who was better known as an important poet, during and after her lifetime, which ended abruptly in a road accident, only a couple of years after this movie.

An unique watch into a leper colony.



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