Written and Directed by: Darush Mehrjooi (داریوش مهرجویی)
Cast: Ezzatolah Entezami, Mahin Shahabi, Ali Nassirian, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi.
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 wandered off. Grief stricken,
Hassan begins to believe he is his own beloved bovine.
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.
Dariush Mehrjui was an Iranian filmmaker and a member of the Iranian Academy of the Arts. Mehrjui was a
founding member of the Iranian New Wave movement of the early 1970s, which also included directors Masoud
Kimiai and Nasser Taqvai. His second film, The Cow, is considered to be the first film of this movement. Most of his
films are inspired by literature and adapted from Iranian and foreign novels and plays.
On 14 October 2023, Mehrjui and his wife were found stabbed to death in their home in the city of Karaj, near
Winner Venice Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize 1971.
Winner Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award, Recommendation (forum)1972.
Winner Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award, Recommendation (forum of new film)1972.
Cannes, Film festival Director’s Fortnight 1971.
Chicago International Film Festival 1971.