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The House Is Black
Directed by Forugh Farrokhzad • 1963 • Iran
The only film directed by trailblazing feminist Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad finds unexpected grace where few would think to look: a leper colony whose inhabitants live, worship, learn, play, and celebrate in a self-contained community cut off from the rest of the world. Through ruminative voiceover narration drawn from the Old Testament, the Koran, and the filmmaker’s own poetry and unflinching images that refuse to look away from physical difference, Farrokhzad creates a profoundly empathetic portrait of those cast off by society—a face-to-face encounter with the humanity behind the disease. A key forerunner of the Iranian New Wave, THE HOUSE IS BLACK is a triumph of transcendent lyricism from a visionary artist whose influence is only beginning to be fully appreciated.