The Cow


  • Introduction

    Targol Mesbah teaches critical theory and media studies in the Department of Anthropology and Social Change at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She engages in curatorial work when she can.


Ezzatollah Entezami, Ali Nasirian, Jafar Vali, Jamshid Mashayekhi,

In memory of Ezzatollah Entezami, June 21, 1924—August 17, 2018

“The first Iranian film to deal with the small-scale, the unredeemed, and the unheroic” (Hamidreza Sadr). An extraordinary film marking the beginning of the Iranian New Wave, The Cow is a portrait of village life where isolation and the most extreme poverty create their own abiding social structure. The story moves from tragedy to absurdity without a wink of the eye: this is the thoroughly believable tale of a man, Hassan, who deeply loves his cow. When the animal, who is the sole source of life for the small village, is killed by marauders, Hassan’s neighbors try but fail to protect him from the grief they see coming. Mad with sorrow, Hassan in his mind becomes the cow he loved, and the effect on the village is telling. There is, in the end, a fine line between man and beast. Evoking both Sufi mysticism and Italian neorealism, Mehrjui has filmed with an eye for everyone’s compulsions, making Hassan’s only the most tragic among them.

  • Dariush Mehrjui
  • Gholam-Hossein Saeedi
Based On
  • a story and play by Saeedi

  • Fereydun Ghovanlou
  • Farsi
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 105 mins
  • National Film Archive of Iran