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The Cow (1969)

Gaav (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | December 1974 (USA)
An old villager deeply in love with his cow goes to the capital for a while. While he's there, the cow dies and now the villagers are afraid of his possible reaction to it when he returns.

Director:

Dariush Mehrjui
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ezzatolah Entezami ... Masht Hassan
Mahin Shahabi ... Hassans wife
Ali Nassirian ... Islam
Jamshid Mashayekhi ... Abbas
Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi
Jafar Vali Jafar Vali ... Kadkhoda
Khosrow Shojazadeh Khosrow Shojazadeh ... Boy
Ezzatollah Ramazanifar Ezzatollah Ramazanifar ... Madman
Esmat Safavi Esmat Safavi ... Old woman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Parviz Fanizadeh
Mahtaj Nojoomi Mahtaj Nojoomi
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Storyline

Masht Hassan owns the only cow in a remote and desolate village. He treats the cow as his own child. When he is away, his cow dies. Knowing the relationship between Masht Hassan and his cow, the villagers hastily dispose the corpse, and when Masht Hassan comes back, they tell him that his cow ran away. Masht Hassan is devastated, he starts to spend all his time in the barn, eating hay, and slowly believes that he is the cow. Written by Sam Tabibnia <samtab@uclink.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

IMVBox.com | sourehcinema

Country:

Iran

Language:

Persian

Release Date:

December 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Kuh See more »

Filming Locations:

Tehran, Iran

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini was reported to have admired this film. This in turn was reported to have been the saving grace that allowed Iranian cinema to continue rather than being banned after the Iranian Revolution. See more »

Quotes

Masht Hassan: I'm not Hassan. I'm his cow.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Brows Held High: This Is Not a Film (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting yet moribund study of human relationships
14 May 2006 | by cinephiliacSee all my reviews

This simple tale is open to interpretation, which can be considered positively or otherwise – it perhaps hearkens back to folk tales which are passed down orally, and contain simple plots which are then the basis of discussion. In this way it is easily remembered and its meanings can be deciphered afterwards by those who watch it. However it also means that the film seems overlong for the most part, pre-occupied with repeating sequences and behaviour again and again, and even drawing out the fairly dramatic ending which arguably diminishes its strength. Perhaps it would have been better presented in a shorter runtime, or a more heavily stylised manner such as that of the title sequence. Nevertheless, regardless of enjoyment there are many threads of discussion that can be considered.

One of the key questions raised by the film is that of the mental stability of the protagonist, Hassan, whose loss of his animal will bring about his somewhat metamorphosis into the same creature. At the start of the film he is seen behaving extremely strangely as he leads his cow back to town, exultantly dancing around it as he washes and caresses it. This man is not behaving as the other people (such as the children) do. Hassan is mirrored somewhat by the town idiot, who is berated by the other people, and even locked up so as to keep Hassan himself from learning the secret of his cow's death. This mirroring, and Hassan's transformation, make it possible to consider the village's relationship to both Hassan and his cow – certainly throughout neither are treated with respect, and the film's end highlights this.

Perhaps Mehrjui, the film's creator, comments on the actual importance of the cow and this man's relationship, an idea that is supported by the title of the piece.


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