Movie Review: The House is Black


“Why should we thank God for having a father and mother?”

“I don’t know, I have neither.”

Thus goes one classroom conversation in this film.

This documentary is about those in an Iranian leper colony and their lives. For twenty minutes, it plays out longer than it does but to it’s advantage. We see the lepers go about their daily business, being taken care of, and engaging in religious and educational activities.

For as short as it is, I can understand why it’s included on the list: the filmmaker’s legacy. The director, Forough Farrokhzad, was an Iranian poet and is considered one of the country’s most influential poets, especially female poets, of the last century. Taking into consideration the culture of the time, it becomes a bit clearer as to why it’s on the list.

The thing is, I like this better than Freaks. I think the reason is that in Freaks, there was malice with no remorse in the characters involved. Here, the thought of malice and wrongdoing never crosses the subjects’ minds. That’s not to say that they are not capable of that train of thought but it seems unlikely over the course of this film. Also, from what I could gather, the lepers shown here are more accepted in public places than in Freaks.

It’s worth the watch on YouTube. Keep in mind that it will be hard to read the subtitles as the color of the words blends in with the picture many times, sometimes with whole lines impossible to read.


1001 MYMSBYD selection

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