Saturated with color
email@example.com | USA | 07/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
- Gasp - !
darragh o'donoghue | 04/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Cynthia Dummett | United Kingdom | 09/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
A beautifully woven tale of love and compassion!!!
Mohd Jafar | Hyderabad, AP India | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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".