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`There is no shortage of ugliness in the world.' the opening voice-over states as we see a horribly disfigured woman staring into a mirror. And by the film's end, we truly get an understanding of what she means.
'Khaneh siah ast' (The House is Black), written, directed and edited in 1963 by Forugh Farrokhzad is a brilliant piece of work done on an issue that has hardly been portrayed in any kind of film, fiction or non. Filmed in B&W on location somewhere on a Middle Eastern island, the film portrays a rapid series of events during the everyday lives of all of its inhabitants that are suffering from various stages of leprosy.
Cinematographer Soleiman Minasian uses mainly natural light and captures the pure essence of what living with leprosy is actually like. It is very startling. All the more startling due to Farrokhzad's rapid editing and cutting and disorienting flash-pans. And although the film is a documentary, there are certain scenes, which are entirely fabricated and contrived. One scene in particular is an actual tracking shot through a classroom where there is a coherent edited sequence of dialogue spoken between a teacher and his student. And although no one in the film is an actor, the scene was indeed scripted.

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1 Comment:

  1. Anonymous said...
    "somewhere on a Middle Eastern island"

    It was filmed in a leper colony near Tabriz, Iran. Tabriz is a land-locked city, and Iran itself is obviously not an island.

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