Ballad of a White Cow

Director Behtash Sanaeeha,Maryam Moghaddam / 2021 / France,Iran

A bereaved single mother does battle with the Iranian justice system in this tense drama.

A year after the execution of her husband, factory worker Mina is informed that he has posthumously been found innocent of all charges. Refusing to be mollified by authorities’ offer of compensation, she instead seeks redress on her own terms, all the while facing a range of struggles: the loss of her job; eviction from her apartment; a financial dispute between relatives; and the care she must provide for her daughter, who does not yet know that her father is dead. Into this picture steps a man who claims to be a former friend of her late spouse, and who proceeds to shower Mina with generosity – but it soon transpires that he may be harbouring a guilty secret of his own.

After premiering in Iran in 2020, Ballad of a White Cow screened as part of the 2021 Berlinale’s competition and at this year’s Tribeca. Gripping, poignant and unashamedly political, the third feature-length collaboration from Iranian filmmakers Behtash Sanaeeha and Maryam Moghaddam (the latter of whom also delivers this film’s virtuoso central performance as Mina) is a tale of a woman fighting for accountability in a society that has stacked all the odds against her.

“An intricately constructed story about innocence, guilt, redemption and forgiveness … Moghaddam is nothing short of magnificent.” – Cineuropa

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