The House is Black is an acclaimed Iranian documentary medium-legth film directed by Forough Farrokhzad.
The film is a look at life and suffering in a leper colony and focuses on the human condition and the beauty of creation. It is spliced with Farrokhzad’s narration of quotes from the Old Testament, the Koran and her own poetry. It was the only film she directed before her death in 1967. During the shooting she became attached to a child of two lepers, whom she later adopted.
Although the film attracted little attention outside Iran when released, it has since been recognised as a landmark in Iranian film. Reviewer Eric Henderson described the film; “One of the prototypal essay films, The House is Black paved the way for the Iranian New Wave.” –filmaffinity.com
Forugh (also spelled Forough) was born in Tehran to career military officer Colonel Mohammad Bagher Farrokhzad and his wife Touran Vaziri-Tabar in 1935. The third of seven children, she attended school until the ninth grade, then was taught painting and sewing at a girl’s school for the manual arts. At age sixteen she was married to Parviz Shapour, an acclaimed satirist. Farrokhzad continued her education with classes in painting and sewing and moved with her husband to Ahvaz. A year later, she bore her only child, a son named Kāmyār (subject of A Poem for You).
Within two years, in 1954, Farrokhzad and her husband divorced; Parviz won custody of the child. She moved back to Tehran to write poetry and published her first volume, entitled The Captive, in 1955.
Farrokhzad, a female divorcée writing controversial poetry with a strong feminine voice, became the focus of much negative attention and open disapproval. In 1958 she spent nine months in Europe… read more
Never in my life have I been so moved by a piece of art. Words cannot serve justice to the profound beauty of this film. The narration elicited the adoration of every fibre of my being. Forough's voice is masterful, and her message does not descend into the hollowness that films of this nature sometimes yield. Being absorbed by the appeal of overconsumption and false beauty is too easy – I'm so humbled by this film.
Clocking at just 20 minutes, this film probably competes with the Satantangos and Shoahs of cinema in providing us a true glimpse into the human condition. A very grotesque representation of pain and… read review