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Gabbeh (1997)

Shaghayeh Djodat , Hossein Moharami , Mohsen Makhmalbaf  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shaghayeh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Rogheih Moharami, Abbas Sayah, Parvaneh Ghalandari
  • Directors: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Writers: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Producers: Khalil Daroudchi, Khalil Mahmoudi, Mostafa Mirzakhani, Reza Shirazi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009WIE9I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,640 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gabbeh" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

"Dazzling! The bold, almost psychedelically vivid images are woven together with a dreamlike density as pure as that of The Blood of a Poet or Natural Born Killers." —Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, Gabbeh is an epic tale of the forbidden passion that shapes the legend of a magical carpet.

A folkloric carpet (Gabbeh), picturing a man and a woman riding away on horseback, is the prized possession of a nomadic elderly couple. When they sit to wash it on the bank of a creek, a beautiful young woman suddenly emerges from the carpet to join them. Once held hostage by the endless restraints of the family that fashioned the carpet, she reveals the secret of the carpet lies within the mysterious black-clad rider on the white horse. Month after month, season after season, he had followed her family from afar, always present, always waiting, howling to her songs of love – longing for her to run away with him.

Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's masterpiece is a brilliantly colorful, profoundly romantic ode to beauty, nature, love and art.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saturated with color July 30, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Wow! The saturated color is thrilling in this naive, if somewhat obscure, movie.
Following backward through the courtship and lives of an old couple, the director presents a tale of passion and verve. The quavery voice of the old man charms as he drifts from chiding his wife at one moment to trekking happily back though time with her. His dotage is both comic and touching. She is well drawn, fulfilling her duties, with a mixture of love and chagrin.
Weaving is the allegory central to this tale, and it is used deftly at many levels: thus the character "Gabbeh". She is both the personification of the carpet which the old couple are washing, as the carpet is indeed representative of the tapestry which their life has become. The word Gabbeh also refers to the kind of course and colorful carpet woven by the Qashqa'i nomads in this story, and the girl, "Gabbeh", is also the woman as a youth. And yet for all this twining, it is a simple story of powerful longing, set in contrast to the breathtaking landscape, and to the daily acts of work and duty. In one scene, the loving and lovelorn uncle, (played by a man known not for acting, but for his talent as a real-life dyer) cries out "Life is color!" Gabbeh replies, "Love is color!"
The longing for love is universal, as is the twarting of it by convention and duty. Well worth seeing, if for no other reason than to get acquainted with a very ancient people, in a very ancient land. But the color . . . wow!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! September 1, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The Gabbeh or 'life rug' is the key to this love story set in the Iranian Steppes. The rugs look simple and have a childlike quality, and yet demand a high level of skill and awareness of every member of the nomadic tribe that makes them. No detail of a life is left out, and yet the end result is a pleasing, cohesive whole. The video, too, has a simple, childlike quality. It is subtitled 'Life is colour'. There is delight in colour for its own sake: from the simple joy of the primaries to exquisitely subtle shades and hues. Though firmly rooted in the reality of traditional nomadic life, the characters have the universality of archetypes and their story the quality of a fairy tale. The video is readily accessible to viewers of all ages, for each person will be drawn to what is relevant to them in the rich array of themes. This is an extremely well-crafted video and one that in my view would bear watching over and over again. I wore out the freeze frame and rewind buttons on my machine just to dwell on the beauty of frame after frame after frame.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars - Gasp - ! April 20, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Is it racist to insist that this is the most beautiful film I have ever seen? I say racist, because much of 'Gabbeh''s symbolic texture was obscure to me, and concentrating on aesthetics may seem to rob a film of its political force. That it is political is shown by its being banned in Iran - Makhmalbaf's hiding behind 'allegory' cannot disguise his impassioned look at poverty, the oppressiveness of tradition, and the loneliness of women. This is a film full of nature's marvel, that shows how 'nature' is too often used to justify social repression - as the teacher's lesson demonstrates, if the creation of the carpet (the gabbeh) is the equivalent of an act of nature, than those systems justified as natural (e.g. patriarchy, the family) are merely created.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully woven tale of love and compassion!!! April 20, 2006
Iranian films are known for their simplicity and poetic beauty and Gabbeh is no different. Gabbeh is another gem by the renowned Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Gabbeh is a persian rug hand woven by women of Iranian tribes. The film tells the story of one such gabbeh(rug) and the story depicted in its colorful weaves about a woman, also named Gabbeh. The film tries to show her sufferings and how she fails to unite with her lover who has been following her for years and seasons.

Gabbeh is a beautifully simple yet deceptively complex film and i would rather recommend more than one viewings to get in depth of the story and the characters. First viewing is bound to confuse the audience. Whether this girl "Gabbeh" really exists?? Or is it just a fantasy of the old man and woman washing the rug?? These are few of the questions that will be answered once you delve deeper in the breathtakingly beautiful world of Gabbeh!!

Gabbeh is a must see for any film buff looking for meaningful and great cinema. Also recommended Abbas Kiarostami's "Taste of cherry", "The wind will carry us", Majid Majidi's "Color of paradise", "Children of heaven" and Makhmalbaf's "The cyclist".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful movie May 8, 2006
I just watched this movie, and I loved it. The scenery and filming were beautiful. The subtitles were well written, and I could sense the poetry of the original Farsi, even knowing nothing of the language. This is a movie full of subtlety and metaphors--although it can be enjoyed just for the surface beauty, the story does lead one to contemplate, and I agree with the first reviewer that a second viewing is in store.

I bought this movie used, and was amused that there is a "youth restricted viewing--must be 17 or older" sticker on it. I guess that's due to the "forbidden passion" mentioned on the back of the box. However, the passion of this story is of the fairy-tale or old-fashioned kind; there is absolutely no sex, nudity, or anything offensive of any sort!

I would recommend this movie for anyone who loves a magical story. Don't be put off by the subtitles--they're simple and sparse, and well-written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabbeh is outstanding
I have loved this movie for years: it is poetic in conception and in realization -- there's a touch of genius in the way the film captures the interwoven story across the years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Happy Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Colors of love colors of hopeless!
Gabbeh is a movie that carves in relief the terrible consequences of the way of living in those lands. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Hiram Gomez Pardo
1.0 out of 5 stars a dud
I wish the script had also been washed away in that creek!

Although considered a classic of Iranian cinema, GABBEH fell flat for me. Read more
Published on September 13, 2011 by Caraculiambro
3.0 out of 5 stars Gabbeh
The film Gabbeh is one that stands out to me. The story is interesting because it keeps the audience wondering who the characters are and where they are coming from. Read more
Published on May 11, 2011 by Jamie
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stimulating
Gabbeh is a stunning film. Prior to this film, I had never seen an Iranian film. After seeing this film I plan to watch as many films as I can by Makhmalbaf. Read more
Published on May 9, 2011 by SBishop
5.0 out of 5 stars The imagery itself is worth it
Gabbeh was the first Iranian film I've ever seen. It interweaves a tale about love with absolutely incredibly imagery of the Afghanistan countryside and a motif of blankets and... Read more
Published on April 13, 2011 by Zia Haider
4.0 out of 5 stars Gabbeh or The Weaver's Spirit
Viewing this film is an extra-ordinarily dreamlike discourse in life. While some of the scenes are very simplistic, Makhmalbaf uses his talent to connect with his audience. Read more
Published on January 6, 2011 by Malcolm L. Rigsby
5.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Color In Weaving The Tapestry Of Life
Note: Farsi with English subtitles.

Synopsis: While an old couple sit by the side of a stream washing a carpet (gabbeh), an attractive woman named Gabbeh (Shaghayeh... Read more
Published on August 11, 2007 by Brian E. Erland
5.0 out of 5 stars Iranian Magic Realism
One of the most beautiful films I have seen from a heap of four or five thousand, this is a visually gorgeous film that unveils in front of viewer's eyes like a fairy tale of such... Read more
Published on March 19, 2007 by Uncle Borges
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!
'Gabbeh' is subtitled 'Life is Color.' The story is simple, naive even. But don't get the idea that it's boring or lifeless. Read more
Published on May 2, 2004
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