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The house is black

22 minutes

A forceful, poetic appeal for dignity drawn from the harrowing images of leprosy

Forough Farrokhzad’s The House Is Black (1962) is a difficult film, a documentary that starts out telling the viewer that what is to come is horrifying, yet must be seen. The images of leprosy are indeed overwhelming and disturbing. Farrokhzad’s aim, however, is not to shock. Rather, she expressly wants us to see this ‘vision of pain no caring human being should ignore’ so that its ugliness can be erased. Although The House Is Black went relatively unnoticed on its release, it now often appears on critics’ lists of top documentaries, such as the BFI’s 50 Greatest Documentaries of All Time, and is widely considered one of the most influential Iranian films.

Director: Forough Farrokhzad

Producer: Ebrahim Golestan

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
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But we can’t do it without you.

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Essay/
Gender & Sexuality
Transitioning

Individual transgender lives track a wider cultural history of surgery, hormones and revolutionised gender identities

Randi Hutter Epstein

Essay/
Old Age & Death
Die like a dog

Pet dogs often have a peaceful death that forestalls protracted suffering and pain. Why can’t we do the same for humans?

Joseph Pierre