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<i>The House Is Black</i>. 1962. Iran. Directed by Forugh Farrokhzad. Image courtesy of the Austrian Filmmuseum

Forough Farrokhzad, Dušan Makavejev, Ulrich Seidl: Ethnographic Experiments

Introduced by Alexander Horwath

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 4:15 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2



Prokleti praznik (Damned Holiday)
1958. Yugoslavia. Directed by Dušan Makavejev. In Serbo-Croatian; English subtitles. 9 min.

Boje sanjaju (Dreaming Colors)
1958. Yugoslavia. Directed by Dušan Makavejev. In Serbo-Croatian; English subtitles. 7 min.

Slikovnica pčelara (Beekeper’s Scrapbook)
1958. Yugoslavia. Directed by Dušan Makavejev. In Serbo-Croatian; English subtitles. 9 min.

Der Ball (The Prom)
1982. Austria. Directed by Ulrich Seidl. In German; English subtitles. 50 min.

The House Is Black
1962. Iran. Directed by Forugh Farrokhzad. In Farsi; English and French subtitles. 22 min.

"This program represents a vastly underrated strand in the discipline of film curatorship: experimental ethnography. Three young filmmakers, united neither by their circumstances, nor the tone they apply to their subjects of research, but by a free spirit and determination to confront the dominant traditions of documentary in their respective nations. Dušan Makavejev, still bracketed as an ‘amateur’ (read: ‘experimental’) filmmaker in 1958 Yugoslavia, was commissioned to make a number of short Kultur films for Zagreb Film and turned them into fanciful color field studies. Ulrich Seidl’s The Prom, produced at Vienna’s Film Academy (and the main reason for his being expelled there), is a different kind of field study: a belated return to his hometown in Lower Austria, observing the local students and notables as they celebrate high-school graduation. The House Is Black, Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad’s only completed film—she died in a road accident at age 32—is widely considered the first masterpiece of the Iranian New Wave. In contrast to Seidl’s film, Farrokhzad’s account of a leper colony in northern Iran has no place for irony, but her gaze is equally penetrating. This is how she begins: ‘There is no shortage of ugliness in the world. If man closed his eyes to it, there would be even more’” (Alexander Horwath, Director, Austrian Film Museum). All films preserved by the Austrian Film Museum. The restoration of The House Is Black derives from a first-generation print made (and subtitled in French) for the film’s expected world premiere in Cannes, 1963. Instead, the director and her producer Ebrahim Golestan premiered it a few weeks later, at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, where the original copy has been kept ever since.

Program 97 min.

In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The 10th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation

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