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GABBEH

SYNOPSIS:
An exultantly lyrical vision of nomadic life in Southern Iran, focusing on a young girl, Gabbeh, who embodies the soul of this rug-weaving community. Her suitor grows impatient as she has to wait for her father’s permission to marry. The old man and woman share rug cleaning duties - but the simplicity of the story and the theme hides a highly complex way of life, and one that is goes in cycles.

Review by Louise Keller:
Just as intricate as the weaving of the carpet (a gabbeh), so too are the intricacies of the nomadic life style in Iran. The significant events in the lives of these nomads are woven into their carpets. And time is measured in these terms. This tale is focused on a beautiful, exotic girl, also called Gabbeh. We share the experiences of her extended family while she awaits her turn to marry. Certain events must take place around her before it is her turn. She awaits the birth of her mother’s baby; the search for a wife by her uncle and his subsequent marriage; the crossing of a river. The events that occur are all a part the cyclic changes of life’s events and seasons. And these are all reflected in the weaving of the colourful and descriptive carpets. By picturesque visual means, we are shown a feast of breathtaking colour and scenery to whet our appetite. The bleakness of the white expanse in winter; the movement of the wind-swept waving wheat fields; the crisp, clear trickle of a mountain stream; sheets of saturating rain; the ornate, colourful costumes; the exotic faces…... The clan exists and survives by the elements. The red poppies from the fields provide the red dye for weaving, while the yellow flower of the wheat field creates the yellow. The sheep are their livelihood and provide warmth in winter. Gabbeh is ultimately a simple love story which gives us a poignant glimpse of an exotic and colourful society.

Review by Andrew L. Urban
Colour is life…colour is love… say some of the characters in Gabbeh, and we are not just told, but shown, in a film that is perhaps cinema’s equivalent to folk art, with its theme drawn from - and reflecting - everyday life in a small Iranian community. Like folk art, the tools of storytelling are earthy and simple, although far from simplistic. What’s more, the actual images are superb, each strikingly beautiful and a window to a land and culture we know hardly at all. Not a predictable love story, Gabbeh is nevertheless very much about the imperatives of getting married, a subject always at the roots of communal life. Without the familiar western storytelling structures, Gabbeh holds our attention with its superb visuals, its unpredictability and its profound honesty."

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GABBEH (G)
(Iranian)

CAST: Shaghayeh Djodat, Hossein Mohrami, Rogheih Moharami, Abbas Sayah

DIRECTOR: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

PRODUCER: Khalil Daroudtchi, Khalil Mahmoudi

SCRIPT: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mahmoud Kalari

EDITOR: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

MUSIC: Hossein Alizadeh

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sanaye Dasti D’Iran

RUNNING TIME: 74 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: New Vision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 1997







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