The 's The House Is Black

2141 WordsOct 20, 20169 Pages
Forugh Farrokhzad’s The House is Black is a harrowing, disturbing, artfully made documentary, one of the few films directed by the Iranian poet Farrokhzad. Her subject here is leprosy, and she looks directly, uncompromisingly, at the devastation that this disease causes the human body. She does not look away, not from the cruelest deformations this disease generates. Her purpose was to expose the punishing and superfluous way that lepers continued to be treated in Iran, funneled into quarantined leper colonies where their disease went relatively untreated, causing them to slowly and painfully degenerate. Farrokhzad’s film was deliberate in raising cognizance about these conditions, and to emphasize that this situation need not be. Produced during the reign of statist documentary cinema, Farrokhzad’s work was a wild contrast from the other documentary films created in this timeframe. Farrokhzad’s The House is Black deliberately and openly disobeyed “the official style” of Iranian documentaries during the 1960s, paving the way for Iranian New Wave cinema. From striking mirror scenes to deep pans of a classroom, Farrokhzad’s auteurist interventions are more obvious than subtle – although Farrokhzad’s directorial hand is heavy in The House is Black, this documentary was among the first to reflect a powerful yet unnoticed reality against the wishes of the Iranian government. A male narrator impassively lists facts about leprosy while Farrokhzad cuts swiftly and abruptly between
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