The House Is Black

The House Is Black ★★★★★

No one wants to expose themselves to the ugliness of the world! We don't want to lie in bed at night haunted by thoughts of people dying on the other side of world in some military skirmish or imagine some child wheezing her last breath due to starvation! No we prefer to sweep it under the rug where we can't see it and go about our everyday life!

But then you have people like Forough Farrokhzad who become the voice for the marginalized people of the world! She was a feminist poet whom faced the same discrimination and injustice the women she had represented had endured! You see you have to know the enemy (intolerance, prejudice, misogyny etc) in order to fight back against it!

And fight back she did every time she wielded her weapon of choice the pen! One day she took up a new weapon.. film! This time giving voice to those whom are shut away from the world in Leper Colonies! Leprosy is an insidious disease that disfigures and causes the loss of appendages leaving its victims looking quite monstrous in appearance!

I recall old stories from back in the day that told of women having miscarriages if they were to come across a leper! The disease is damaging enough but our mistreatment and ostracization of the lepers ultimately dehumanizing them was far worse than the very disease that ravaged their bodies!

Forough Farrokhzad through a 22 minute documentary lent not only her voice and talent but gave them back their humanity and dignity through imagery that softened even the most stoic heart! Simply by filming them doing the most human, most mundane activities all humans perform and by invoking quotes from the bible, the Koran and from her own poetic verse as well! What at first may be perceived as exploitive glances at the "Ugliness" was in fact a mirror to gauge the viewers own deformities (ignorance, intolerance, irrational fears, prejudice etc)

This was to be her one and only film! She died at the young age of just 32 leaving behind a rich legacy of humanitarianism, activism, poetry and trailblazing from which the Iranian New Wave movement sprung! The film is heralded as the most important film in Iranian filmmaking! I wholeheartedly concur :-)

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