Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Dariush Mehrjui's first film, The Cow, was made independently in Iran, and its success at the 1971 Venice Film Festival has given Iranian film-making a stature long sought by small countries with struggling film industries. International recognition, so treasured, came with the critical acceptance, almost without exception, of this film and of his later The Postman, also at this year's Melbourne Festival.
The cow, for its owner Mashdi Hassan and his fellow villagers, is the focal point of existence. In carefully documented sequences, the primitive conditions and rituals in the underdeveloped parts of Iran, provide a precise background for the narrative. A hostile neighbouring clan poses a threat to the cow, which throws the village into confusion, and the cow's strange death leads Hassan to seek retribution in his own way.