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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
New Yorker 06/97 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Gabbeh is a magical and visually stunning film set in the arid countryside of Iran. An old man and woman have a richly colored carpet that they cherish. Suddenly, Gabbeh, a beautiful young woman, appears before them. She has woven the carpet and is the spirit of the carpet. Her story unspools before their eyes.
Although this young woman is in love with a man who follows her nomadic tribe on horseback, her stern and authoritarian father will not allow her to marry him. Meanwhile, Gabbeh's uncle finds the woman of his dreams. Her mother gives birth, her little sister dies, and a goat is born. Eventually Gabbeh defies her father and runs off with her ardent lover, who howls at the moon.
Writer and director Mohsen Makhmalbaf is an inventive fabulist who uses color, character, fantasy, reality, and spirituality to convey the mysteries of love, family, ritual, and creativity. This poetic and picturesque movie celebrates the gnarled beauty of the natural world, the art of weaving, and the unique ways that story gives life shape and meaning. Gabbeh is a sense luscious film that stays with you long after the closing credits.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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