DirectorDariush Mehrjui Story byGholam-Hossein Saedi Duration CountryIran
WriterDariush Mehrjui, Gholam Hossein Saedi Release date1969 (1969) CastEzzatolah Entezami (Masht Hassan), Mahin Shahabi (Hassan's Wife), Ali Nassirian (Islam), Jamshid Mashayekhi (Abbas), Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi, Jafar Vali (Kadkhoda) Similar moviesKandahar, Taste of Cherry, Still Life, Blackboards, Untying the Knot, Bitter Dream
Scene from the cow
The Cow (Persian: گاو, Gāv or Gav) is a 1969 Iranian film directed by Dariush Mehrjui, written by Gholam-Hossein Saedi based on his own play and novel, and starring Ezzatolah Entezami as Masht Hassan. Critics widely consider it the first film of the Iranian New Wave.
The story begins by showcasing the close relationship between a middle-aged Iranian villager Masht Hassan and his beloved cow. Hassan is married but has no children. His only valuable property is a cow that he cherishes as the only cow in the village. When Hassan must leave the village for a short time, the pregnant cow is found dead in the barn. Hassan's fellow villagers fear his reaction and cover up the evidence of the death and tell him upon his return that his cow has run away. Finding great difficulty confronting the loss of his beloved cow, as well the loss of livestock that affects his social stature at the village, Hassan gradually goes insane following a nervous breakdown and believes he is the cow, adopting such mannerisms as eating hay. His wife and the villagers try in vain to restore his sanity. The film ends with Hassan's death.
The Buyid prince Majd ad-Dawla was reported to have thought of himself as a cow. He was subsequently cured of his delusion by the medieval Persian physician Avicenna. It is possible that elements of the plot of The Cow were inspired by this.1
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.
Best Film Award La Rochelle 1994
OCIC Award - Recommendation - Forum of New Film 22nd Berlin International Film Festival 1972
FIPRESCI Prize 32nd Venice International Film Festival 1971
Best Actor Award Chicago International Film Festival 1971
Award for Best Screenplay Sepas Film Festival 1970