Volume. 12227

Dariush Mehrjuii thrilled over seeing restored version of “The Cow” in Paris
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Director Dariush Mehrjuii in an undated photo
Director Dariush Mehrjuii in an undated photo
TEHRAN -- Veteran Iranian director Dariush Mehrjuii was excited to watch in Paris the restored version of “The Cow”, one of his early works.

“I got excited when I watched the high quality restored version of ‘The Cow’ in Paris,” he told the Persian of ISNA on Tuesday.

Mehrjuii was in Paris last week to attend the June 4 premiere of his acclaimed comedy drama at the Reflet Médicis.

Produced in 1969, the film was recently restored by Iran’s National Film Archive and the Farabi Cinema Foundation for presentation at the Reflet Médicis, which screens works from the world cinema in the original languages and also organizes debates and meetings with film crews.

“I had not watched the film for a long time. Seeing the film in Paris years after its production was nostalgic for me and stirred memories of those years,” 74-year-old Mehrjuii Mehrjuii said.

He stated that he saw the film with the eye of a filmgoer rather than its director and added, “I was delighted.”

“The film had not been screened in Paris before… Parisian people have a thirst for such films,” he said.

Mehrjuii made “The Cow” based on one of the stories from celebrated Iranian writer Gholamhossein Saedi’s short story collection “The Mourners of Bayal”.
The film is about Masht Hassan, who owns the only cow in a remote, desolate village. While he is away, his cow, whom he treats like his own child, dies. Knowing the relationship between Masht Hassan and his cow, the villagers hastily dispose of the corpse, and when Masht Hassan returns, they tell him that his cow ran away. Devastated by the news, Masht Hassan starts to spend all his time in the barn eating hay and slowly begins to believe that he has become the cow.
“The Cow” won the International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1971. It was the first award the Iranian motion picture industry ever received at an international event.   
The film was financed largely by the government of former Iranian monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The producers were aghast at the finished product as they felt that the film portrayed Iran as a completely backward country. The film was only allowed to be released with a disclaimer attached stating that the events depicted happened long before the regime existing at that time came to power.
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