Friday, December 13, 2013

229 of 1001 Movies: The Cow (1969)

Perhaps the strangest movie I've seen this year, but thank goodness it was because that kept me entertained! This movie really did have a true importance in Iranian cinema. without it Iranian movies might have been banned. It was such a charmer though it kept movies there alive. I was searching for some  surreal meaning behind all that was happening, but no, I found none. Don't get me wrong there very well could be, but no one involved with the film never discuss if there is. This movie is just straight up bonkers, and I like that about it. It even has a simple title, The Cow.

Summary: Hassan is the only person in his small in Iran who has a cow. It's important to the community, and he treats the animal as if it is a child. He even spends a night with it to protect it just in case some thieves try to kill or steal the animal. His wife and the rest of the villagers know the importance of this animal in his life. When he leaves for a day he puts his wife in charge of looking after the beloved animal. The animal strangely dies though, and this leaves the villagers searching for a way to bring the news to Hassan who is going to take it a lot harder than they can expect.

Acting: I always why foreign movies such as this feature some of the strongest acting I've seen? The people who act in them just seem to true to how their cultures work. The guy who plays Hassan just looks like a real guy who also so happens to seems a bit close to his cow. In a way it makes sense since he has no children and the cow is the sign that he has a higher status in the community with his ability to provide everyone with more. There are other characters like the actor who portrayed Eslam who do a good job, and I felt their acting increased the intensity of having to reveal the bad news to Hassan.

Filming:  The movie is very rough looking, but I imagine it has a very low budget, especially since films were in endangered at the time. The setting and the way the movie is shot still shows a lot of effort from the director. The angles and the shots show a lot of creativity, and then with the setting you have this real atmosphere to provide a backdrop to the odd story.

Plot: I wasn't expecting such an interesting story. When I first watched it I thought I was going to get a movie that was really only about a day in the life of a guy and his cow. After the cow dies though this movie becomes a look at how the love of something can drive someone mad. The plot doesn't ever give really a deep explanation, which is what I was set on the entire time while watching, but to be honest it was sort of a relief when the movie appeared to just go with what the viewer was seeing instead of having another level to think over.

Dariush Mehrjui made a film that it was so entertaining it kept the Iranian films from sinking to not existing, which would have been a shame if it happened considering the good releases that have come from the country. While the movie may not leave any deeper explanations they do get you to talking about what you just watched just because the movies are so oddly tragic. It's a simple story on top with a lot to think about under it.

Rating 7 of 10.

The Cow (1969) on IMDb

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