Close Up

26 January 2023: Treatment: The House Is Black + Face of our Fear

khaneh-siah-ast-forough-farrokhzad-2.jpg

Treatment is a programme of films that make space for individual agency and subjecthood within institutional spaces of care and health. To a large extent, modern understandings of notions of health and care were formed around the cold rationality of the scientific method and the moral certitude of religious doctrine. This led to many institutions, dealing with health and care to be led by dogma, leaving no space for individuals within them to be acknowledged as anything other than predefined understandings of them. These films treat their subjects in a personal sense, having a specific attitude towards them, but they do not ‘treat’ their subjects in a clinical sense, trying to fix and homogenise divergence. 

The screening will be preceded by an introduction by Siavash Minoukadeh

The House is Black
Forough Farrokhzad, 1963, 22 min

The House Is black (Khaneh Siah Ast) is the result of a commission given to the filmmaker Ebrahim Golestan with the aim of raising awareness of their cause. Golestan produced the film but asked his lover, the influential poet Forough Farrokhzad to direct. Shot in the Bababaghi leper colony in northwestern Iran with a lyrical voiceover by Farrokhzad and Golestan, the film rejected the lens of scientific study, and instead captured the patients’ humanity. This was the only film Farrokhzad made before she was killed in a car accident in 1967. The version that will be screened is a 2019 restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna, compiling differing archival versions under Golestan’s supervision.

Face of Our Fear
Stephen Dwoskin, 1991, 52 min

Initially screened as part of a Channel 4 season on disability, Face of our Fear is a video essay deconstructing stigmatised. representations of disability in Western culture alongside performed. Mixing footage from films and TV shows, with personal accounts and performances by disabled people, the film lays out the false conceptions of disability that had become embedded into culture over centuries. The dichotomy that presented disabled people as either powerless subjects to be pitied or deformed, dangerous actors is set out, and rejected, by Dwoskin with angry clarity.