On the one hand this can be seen as a film portraying a man’s deep love for his animal. Because the movie was banned during the cultural revolution, one also has to think about the poverty, veiled criticisms of group behavior etc., One person on IMDB, posted he felt the cow was a metaphor for Iranian cinema – they love it, they take care of it, they call it names, but it dies, and they all have to cover it up. Then on this blog, http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2006/12/26-iranian-director-dariush-mehrjuis.html – there are more interpreations, and a mubian says on “The Cow’s” page on THIS site, that he felt there was symbolism for marixism, capitalism, the means of production. Under that interpretation, I’m not sure what the message is.
Does anyone have any interesting interpretations, or theories about “The Cow”? “Gaav”?
I’m not sure what the overriding political symbolism would be. This was made in the time of the Shah, and meanings applied to the later Revolution may or may not be pertinent. Various readings are possible, even if not intended. You could say the loss of freedom and democracy leads to madness, or that the people of Iran at the time were having to live the lie and cover up the damage done by the loss of the independent govt they could have had, but for Western imperialist interference. Then a similar reading could be applied to the damage done by the Revolution and the collective responsibility for it….a timeless universality… and so on. But we should beware. I think it would be useful to go back to the source and/or what the director may have said since.
wikipedia: "The Samanid prince Nooh ibn Mansur 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.
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 without becoming completely banned after the Iranian Revolution"
i don’t think it is about Iranian cinema or something like that as i know GHOLAM-HOSSEIN SAEDI,the writer was a Marxist and his ideas about Marxism is all over the film.
In the Cow we have a lot of political or economical symbols for example the cow would be Iranian oil and “Boluri ha” would be the “foreigner countries” that always we think they’re going to rob our only cow,and so on
besides all these symbols,the film has a main point; transformation of Mash-Hassan to the Cow(Object) that is one of the Marxism concept.
When and where exactly was the film banned, Doug? cos talk of it being banned in the cultural revolution confuses me. As i suggested above, I can see it is an attack on Western imperialist exploitation, yes. And so, if anything, that would be veiled critique of the Shah, who was widely despised, all the more so by the end of the 70s, so there was turned out to be an extreme anti-Western reaction. And this in turn could be taken as a lesson- extremism in the form of imperialism (or capitalism) is likely to breed an extreme response.
I may be wrong about it being banned during the cultural revolution – I was doing a lot of surfing and thought I read that. It was banned initially – see below. One of the reasons I decided to post about the film is that there is such a dearth of information about it – at least much less analysis and fewer reviews than I was hoping for.
The story about it being banned probably from this link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dariush_Mehrjui
“Gaav was banned for over a year by the Ministry of Culture and Arts, despite being one of the first two film in Iran to receive government funding. This was most likely due to Sa’edi being a controversial figure in Iran. His work was highly critical of the Pahlavi government and he had been arrested sixteen times.2 When it was finally released in 1970, it was highly praised and won an award at the Ministry of Culture’s film festival, but it was still denied an export permit.”
Thanks for everyone’s interesting posts.
after revolution producing films were banned and all the cinemas were closed because they thought cinema promote corruption ; maybe you talk about that,it wasn’t specially just for the cow.
Cow,it is the first film that confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini after revolution and reopened the way for Iranian cinema