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The Cow (1969) More at IMDbPro »Gaav (original title)


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Release Date:
December 1974 (USA) See more »
The whole village knows that Mashti Hassan loves his cow to death. One day he goes to the Tehran. His cow dies. The villagers are afraid of what might happen once Hassan finds out his cow is dead. What will happen when he finds out? Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Interesting but maybe requires a knowledge of the culture to get the most from it See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order)
Ezzatolah Entezami ... Masht Hassan
Mahin Shahabi ... Hassans wife
Ali Nassirian ... Islam
Jamshid Mashayekhi ... Abbas
Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi
Jafar Vali ... Kadkhoda
Khosrow Shojazadeh ... Boy
Ezatallah Ramezanifar ... Madman
Esmat Safavi ... Old woman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Parviz Fanizadeh
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Directed by
Dariush Mehrjui 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Dariush Mehrjui  writer
Gholam-Hossein Saedi  play

Produced by
Dariush Mehrjui .... producer
Original Music by
Hormouz Farhat 
Cinematography by
Fereydon Ghovanlou 
Film Editing by
Dariush Mehrjui 
Sound Department
Hormouz Farhat .... sound

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Gaav" - Iran (original title)
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105 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Financed largely by the Shah's government, the producers were aghast at the finished film as they felt that it made Iran look like it was a completely backwards country. The film was only allowed to be released with a disclaimer attached stating that the events depicted happened long before the then existing regime.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Cinema Iran (2005) (TV)See more »


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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Interesting but maybe requires a knowledge of the culture to get the most from it, 23 May 2005
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

In the small village where he lives, Masht Hassan is well-known because he owns the only cow. Needless to say he is very protective of the animal and treats it like the child he and his wife do not have – bathing, feeding and playing with it; his main worry is that the neighbouring Boulouris will come in the night and steal it away. However while he is away one day, the cow starts to bleed from the nose and die – faced with having to tell him it is dead, the villagers bury the body and agree to tell him it has strayed. When Hassan returns he cannot believe it and soon is spending nights on the roof of the barn waiting for it to return, part of a gradual spiral downwards with no end Considered to be one of the landmark films in the history of Iran as a force as a film producing nation, this will be a harder sell to Western audiences (myself included) who perhaps cannot understand the context of the story and some of the deeper meaning that, I assume, this story has. The plot is simple and it seems to show the mental decline of Hassan and the village's collective inability to deal with that within the confines of daily life. In painting a realistic picture of village life (the film was shot using a mix of actors and real villagers) the film maintains an interesting setting even if the development is rather slow and unsatisfying. It requires you to think of course, but I didn't think I had the knowledge to really appreciate it and I suspect that many other viewers will struggle for the same reason.

The stark direction is good but I'm not sure if it suited the material as I would have preferred a washed out colour to compliment the sentiment in the film. It worked though and the performances are mainly good – Entezami in particular convincing in his slide into instability. Worth seeing because of its stature within Iranian cinema then, but perhaps you need a greater understanding of the culture than I if you are to take more from it. Even still it is interesting in its view of village life and the attitude towards mental illness.

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So... the cow is probably a metaphor for the Iranian cinema. wwolf-8
What struck you about 'The Cow' or 'Gaav'? rudradev64
UK DVD release? andynortonuk
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