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THE COW won great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival after being smuggled out of Iran in 1971, and was twice voted the best Iranian film ever made by a survey of Iranian film critics.
A striking documentary flavor of rural life in Iran. --Variety
Beautifully Made! --Sunday Times (UK)
Top Customer Reviews
The film depicts the human situation living in utmost poverty and dispossession. Masht Hassan loses his only possession and his only source of living, his cow. Then in the unfolding process of mourning his cow, he gradually identifies with the dead animal... indeed, he becomes the cow. His insanity invokes a chain reaction on the part of his fellow villagers who at first try to help Hassan out of compassion but gradually and unconsciously begin treating him like a cow out of fear of such metamorphosis and reincarnation. The result is this starkly depicted human tragedy. It is a must see for anyone seriously thinking about social issues as well as about cinema.
The film also depicts the underlying animistic beliefs of rural Iran--a prevalent belief that has been hidden and working under the surface of Islamic beliefs. The identification of man and animal, and that there is an animal soul for humans, comes from polytheistic Indian cultures, which after the Mongol conquest and throughout centuries has permeated Persian cultures and belief systems.
This film also features the fabulous congregations of Iran's most outstanding actors of the time, Ali Nassirian, Ezzatollah Entezami, and Jamshid Mashayekhi. Their acting is super, the ambiance surreal, the situation heart-wrenching.
This will be a memorable film for anyone who hasn't yet seen it.
This is actually a moving, realistic portrayal of life in one of the most barren villages you're likely to see, and a damn fine movie. Great use of music, no special effects, wild variations in the volume level that annoy any little pussycats who may be sitting on your lap enjoying the film with you. So yep, redneck Michael enjoyed another Cannes Film Festival winner plans to watch it again.
The film was seen as an embarrassing portrayal of how Iran's rural population lived during the days of the Shah and indeed the Shah banned the film. It was only until the Iranian Revolution when Khomeini allowed it to be distributed once more. The film is seen by some as a criticism of modernity encroaching on village life and by some others as a nostalgia for a way of life slowly slipping away from us.
All in all, an exceptionally well done film that never gets 'old.'
One negative is the sound quality. The voicing was obviously done in a space that echoed... A minor issue...
And it is a political level in Gaav, no doubt about it: think only about the menacing apparitions of the robbers from the neighboring village, and the revenge incursions: they are the robbers, we are only protecting our assets and lives; it sound very Mid East indeed.
Dariush Mehrjui returned to Iran after studying philosophy at UCLA and started to make movies. It was in the sixties, Iran was under Shah's regime, and Mehrjui was one of the guys from the westernized elite. So you could expect from him movies within some American standards.
Well, Gaav, made by Mehrjui in 1969, is very far from any American artistic frame. You could think at Italian Neorealism and French Avant-Garde. I would rather say Pasolini: Gaav calls Pasolini's works in mind. However, beyond any comparison, for a Westernized viewer the subject is so Iranian specific that the typical reaction would be stupor. And to say Iranian specific is actually misleading! A remote primitive village where a symbolic story takes place. Gaav has the structure of a ballade. Think at Parajanov! It is made with extreme simplicity and economy: things happen just because that's the way they should happen, reasonable explanations are useless.
No wonder Gaav was banned immediately by Shah's censors: how to allow a movie about an Iranian village so far from modernity? The movie was smuggled in 1972 and presented at Venice at the Mostra. Without subtitles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Slow moving shots were too long but were effectively intense. I just couldn't finish
it. Good insight into another culture.
Please watch it and let me know what happened
Saw the descriptions on the cover. Sorry, nice try but it was not as described for me.Published 5 months ago by GregF
Might be called boring by some, but the images remain with you long after. The bullying of those who are different, the limited lives of the women, the fear of neighbors (the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by ArdArAr
Quite a provocative mysteriously filmed movie, worth seeing for its uniqueness but a challenge to watch since the subtitles are often unreadable.Published 8 months ago by Fran C
If you are contemplating watching a movie that is culturally and cinematically unique, shot in B&W/small screen format, with minimal, sub-titled, dialogue, I am guessing the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by bobl
This is a kind of freaky movie, and as an American who knows little or nothing about what it might be like to live in a tiny rural Iranian village, it left me in a position where I... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Steve