The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963)

The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963)

The House is Black

The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963)

The house is black is a short-form documentary about life in a leper colony, The House is Black is a film that directly inspired the new wave cinema of post-revolutionary Iran.

Directed by Forough Farrokhzad, Set in the Behkadeh Raji colony, The House is Black deals with the human condition amidst pain and suffering while exalting the joys found in the simpler things in life; two girls brushing each other’s hair, a man dancing barefoot in the street, kids playing make-believe with a broom – the banality of life made beautiful through the eyes of this first-time filmmaker. These may be lepers we are watching onscreen but they are also humans with lives to live.

The film is narrated by director Farrokhzad who reads passages from the Bible, Koran, and her writings while juxtaposing images to create meaning. The story, you could say, is told in the montage. And while this documentary utilizes a large quantity of artifice, as many documentaries do, it does not negate in any way the truth of the suffering of the lepers who inhabit the colony.

Farrokhzad herself was a poet, widely regarded as the best female Persian poet who ever lived, due to her unabashed writings on desire, love, and the female perspective. She wrote about being a woman at a time when Persian literature was dominated by male voices. Sadly, Farrokhzad died tragically at the age of 32 following a car accident in Tehran. The House is Black remains her only film.

Forough Farrokhzad was born in Tehran in 1935, to career military officer Colonel Mohammad Bagher Farrokhzad (originally from Tafresh city) and his wife Touran Vaziri-Tabar. The third of seven children (Amir, Massoud, Mehrdad, Fereydoun, Pooran, Gloria), she attended school until the ninth grade, then was taught painting and sewing at a girls’ school for the manual arts. At the age of 16, she was married to satirist Parviz Shapour. She continued her education with painting and sewing classes and moved with her husband to Ahvaz. Her only child, a son named Kamyar Shapour (subject of The Return), was born a year later.


Read more on Iranian movies reviews on the link below

And also read more on Forough Farrokhzad’s life on this link;


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