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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Foreign > Iran > Cow (Gaav)

The Cow (Gaav)


Picture: C†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C†††† Film: B



When you hear about a film simply called The Cow, you have to laugh.Is it a kidís film, an animal documentary or even a pretentious art film?In this case, it is the groundbreaking 1969 Iranian film from world-class filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui.It was a landmark that was censored by the Shaw of Iran and helped make cinema possible in one of the most oppressive of all countries.


The film involves a little village where one man values his cow more than the people around him in what he sees as a cold world.When he leaves the cow alone among the villagers, it dies.Was this form lack of love, companionship, or the disdain and coldness of the people?No matter what, the townspeople bury it and then tell the returning owner that it ran away.That makes no sense to him, but he does not expect at first the truth.When it becomes obvious, he cannot handle those around him and the manifestation of justifiable distrust drives him to believe he is that cow!


Mehrjui did this in the Italian-Neorealist style, which pumps up the coldness and cruelty, further emphasized by the fact that it is shot in black and white by Fireidoon Ghovanloo.The 1.66 X 1 letterboxed image has more of a bar at the bottom than the top and is an older print with the kind of burned-in subtitles that get lost in the background.The print has its share of artifacts and scratches.The Video Black is not 100% and the print is a bit aged on top of that.I still liked the look of the film.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Farsi Mono is not bad for its age, sounding about as good as it can for such a low-budget production.Extras include an interview with Mehrjui, his biography as text, a small stills section, text notes by Godfrey Cheshire, and trailers to other First Run titles.


Iran has had a rough history, especially of late, going from the dictatorship of he Shaw, to the insanity of the Ayatollah Khomeini, to the ugliness of the Iran-Contra Affair, and the perpetual presence of terrorism and a hijacked version of Islam that can do nothing but destroy the world as we know it.Fortunately, there is a better Iran buried deep in this madness and The Cow is an existential beacon of light through that darkness than shows this.Add that to its artistic achievements and it is no wonder it is consistently voted the most important Iranian film ever made.It is a film that could have cost its director his life (among others) and when it comes to World Cinema, it holds as timeless as Citizen Kane and Children Of Paradise.See it!



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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