Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: The House is Black (1963)

Film: The House is Black 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

In making my way through this list, I've been confronted with images I didn't want to see. Torture, animal slaughter, gore and horror of all kinds. For the most part, these things were carefully staged by the filmmakers, trying to evoke a specific response in its audience. Knowing nothing about this film, I was struck by the first image of a human face, deformed. "What's wrong with that face?!" I thought. Then I realized that these were the real faces of leprosy, and my initial cringing reaction was their everyday reality. These images juxtaposed with poetry and prayers caused a strange reaction in me of sadness, of shame, of vanity. How little I know of the world outside my bubble! How petty are my daily concerns! I only wish that the version I watched had clearer subtitles so I could really take it all in. This film comes in at only 20 minutes but it packs a powerful punch. I can only imagine what writer/director Forugh Farrokhzad's career would have been if not for a car accident that took her from the world at age 32. It's a moving look at a world most of us would probably turn our heads from. 

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