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The House is Black is an empathetic portrait of a leper colony from Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad.

Her work, both in film and poetry, has influenced everyone from Iranian New Wave master Abbas Kiarostami to French essay film pioneer Chris Marker.

With The House is Black, Farrokhzad unflinchingly captures the world of a leper colony in Tabriz, Iran. She recites her own poetry over images of everyday life for a people shut away from society. Farrokhzad’s portrait highlights a world weighed down by tragedy yet uplifted by community. The result is a heartbreaking film that eschews condescension in favor of hard-won empathy.

Also on this DVD are two important short films by master director Mohsen Makmalbaf. The School That Was Blown Away (1996) is about an old man who visits a school for nomad children, while Images From the Qajar Dynasty (1992) explores the visual works from the Qajar Dynasty, including the first photography and cinematography shot in Iran.

Director: Forough Farrokhzad. Writer: Forough Farrokhzad. Cinematographer: Soleyman Minasian. Producers: Ebrahim Gulistan.

Directed by Forough Farrokhzad and Mohsen Makmalbaf, Iran, 1963-1996, 48 minutes. In Farsi with English subtitles.

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