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The Cow
The Cow
Actors: Ezzatolah Entezami, Ezatallah Ramezanifar, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Ali Nassirian, Parviz Fanizadeh
Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2004     1hr 40min

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 emoti...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ezzatolah Entezami, Ezatallah Ramezanifar, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Ali Nassirian, Parviz Fanizadeh
Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Original Release Date: 12/00/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 12/00/1974
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Persian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A Memorable Film
Peyman Vahabzadeh | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 01/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""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."
Peyman Vahabzadeh | 08/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."