Monday, May 24, 2010

The Cow (1971)

This highly symbolic Iranian drama (shot in black-and-white) revolves around the most important figure in a remote rural village. That figure is the village's sole cow, owned by Mashdi Hassan (Ezat Entezani). The beginning of the film makes clear just how vital the cow is to the life of the village and how much Mashdi and his neighbors cherish it. When the cow is threatened and then killed by members of a nearby clan, Mashdi becomes so distraught that he is gradually transformed into a cow himself. One highlight of this film is the glimpse it offers into a style of rural life which has gone unchanged for thousands of years. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 100 mins
The Cow (1971)

Dust cover script:
Influenced by Italian Neorealism. The Cow has the beauty and simplicity associated with the great films that movement. In a small village in Iran, Hassan cherishes his cow more than anything in the world. While he is away, the cow mysteriously dies, and the villagers protectively try to convince Hassan the cow has only wandered off. Grief stricken, Hassan begins to believe he is his own beloved bovine.

The Cow won great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival after being smuggled out of Iran in 1971, and was twice voted best Iranian film ever made by a survey of Iranian film critics.

Quite a feat to be voted best especially considering the number of great films I have seen.

At the end, the group watching it will me wondered if the village and Hassan would have been better off if he had been told the truth and allowed a natural grieving process to develop naturally. As not seeing the body, Hassan reacted with disbelief and then the delusions of himself being the cow. If I had been there I would just have asked some questions and if all else fails-try to "milk" his cow.

DVD Bonus Features:
* Interview with Dariush Mehrjui
* Film Notes by Godfrey Cheshire
* Director Biography
* Photo Gallery

A funny little film although I seriously did not find as much substance as the film critics praised it. Not much on social commentary but some may have shown the benefit of showing a culture from the past.

No comments: