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The Cow

3.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Influenced by Italian Neorealism, THE COW has the beauty and simplicity associated with the great films of that movement. In a small village in Iran, Hassan cherishes his cow more than anything in the world, for both emotional and economical reasons. While he is away, the cow mysteriously dies, and the villagers protectively try to convince Hassan the cow has wandered off. Grief stricken, Hassan begins to believe he is his own beloved bovine. The story is Mehrjui's treatise on emotional attachment told in his characteristic simple and touching manner.

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.

Review

The most interesting and accomplished filmmaker the United States has never heard of. --The New York Times

A striking documentary flavor of rural life in Iran. --Variety

Beautifully Made! --Sunday Times (UK)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ezzatolah Entezami, Ezatallah Ramezanifar, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Ali Nassirian, Parviz Fanizadeh
  • Directors: Dariush Mehrjui
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002F6BFG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,148 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cow" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peyman Vahabzadeh on January 30, 2008
Format: DVD
"The Cow" (Gaav) is arguably the masterpiece of Dariush Mehrjui and one of the best films in the history of Iranian cinema--a stylistic cinema which has already achieved so much internationally. Made in 1969, the plot of the film comes actually from a segment of the remarkable novel, "The Mourners of Bayal," written by Iranian playwright and psychotherapist Gholam Hossein Saedi (1935-1985). Saedi co-wrote the screenplay with Mehrjui, and the result is this outstanding film.

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.
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By A Customer on August 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Don't let the English subtitles deter you. Dialogue is minimal in this black and white film, smuggled out of Iran in 1971. This is not in any way political that I can see, so I wonder what the government was trying to suppress here. It shows poverty, madness, a severe learning disability, theft, violence, murder, lust, superstition... If Iran doesn't have those, well, it's the only country in the world that can make such a claim.

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.
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Format: DVD
This movie runs along the certain symbolism of traditional Persian poetry that so often speaks of the lover becoming the object of his/her love and the dissolving of one's identity in the Beloved. The film is rife with symbolism with it's dark ambiance, stark simplicity, juxtaposition of life and death, marriage and separation, friends and foes and so on.

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.'
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Format: Amazon Video
This is a story about the people in a small village in a desolate part of Iran that has fallen on bad times. The central character is the man who loved his cow (hence the title). His cow was the only one in the village, which lost its sheep to thieves. I was intrigued by how the people in the village, as a village, coped with his eccentricity. I found it touching and intensely interesting. Definitely not a film for the average American viewer - this film is not fast or action-packed and it does not have a happy ending. It depicts a few days in the life of these villagers... This film stayed with me for a few days - it prompted interesting discussion with my husband and friends (who are from India) who saw the film with me.
One negative is the sound quality. The voicing was obviously done in a space that echoed... A minor issue...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched once a video that takes a scene from Gaav and replaces the dialog with a fake one. You could say that it looks funny while the movie is too tragic to make fun of it; but this video is emphasizing a political level in a movie with so many levels of understanding.

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.
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