Abel Gance, hier et demain
Neorealism, surrealism and mysticism meld in this groundbreaking, deeply moving Iranian New Wave film. Hassan, a farmer in a poor village, goes mad when he hears his only cow has mysteriously disappeared. Lost and bewildered, he takes the cow’s place.
The Cow was funded by the Iranian government, yet was immediately banned after completion due to its negative portrayal of rural Iranian poverty. The film was smuggled to the Venice Film Festival in 1971 where it won the FIPRESCI or critics’ prize.
Mehrjui’s astounding camerawork captures the villagers in tight close-ups or through windows and doors, seemingly imprisoning them. This symbolises their unchanging world that has suddenly been upended by the disappearance of the village’s only cow. Ezzatolah Entezami won an acting prize at the Chicago film festival for his impressive acting: his face and body literally start to approximate the features of his cow, after he has assumed the animal’s personality.