Robert Beksinski’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Remember you have made yourself beautiful in vain, for a song in the remote desert, and your friends who have denigrated you" - Forugh Farrokhzad
Beauty in vain is the perfect description of the hope and humanity that this film presents. Famed Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad turned filmmaker just this once before her death to film this important subject on human compassion and the beauty of life within. For a short documentary just spanning slightly over twenty minutes, Farrokhzad equipped with her poetic narration and compassionate lens is able to not only examine the life of a diagnosed individual with leprosy but channel their outer turmoil with their inner beauty to make the audience realize we are all one in the same.
Leprosy must be one of the worst diseases imaginable (the film even highlights the destructive nature of the disease and how it gradually attacks the body) and it is particularly difficult to watch in this film the children who suffer from it. That is the sensitivity and compassion that I was mentioning before that Farrokhzad is able to capture. She is not glorifying their illness for its ugly design but showing us that they are people such as us that live in agony and despite this manage to live life with spirituality, happiness, and hope. When questioned a child within the colony to name a few beautiful things (sun, moon, playground, etc.) followed by a few ugly things he went on to reply hand, foot, and head but then proceeded to laugh and giggle about it because they have all accepted who they are. It's beautiful to see the children's smiles in the face of such adversity but then terribly sad that they have to go through such pain to begin with.
The House is Black is a powerful way to spend 20 minutes and really stands as a testament to the love for humanity to whomever watches it.