1996; Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Cast: Abbas Sayahi, Shaghayegh Djodat, Hossein Mohrami

This Iranian film tells the story of a young girl who lives with her family in a nomadic tribe in North-East Iran. An old woman washing gabbehs (a gabbeh is a type of persian rug which often depicts stories in the images woven into it) shows us the story of this girl and her tribe in the images on various rugs.

The girl has been forbidden by her father to marry her lover, who follows her tribe around the northern steppes, always on horseback, always at a distance.
As we follow the story of the girl, we also see the life of her tribe, and witness life through their eyes. The visuals in this film are lush and vibrant (this seems appropriate, as we are viewing the tale via the pictures on gabbehs, which have vivid colours from the natural dyes used in their creation); one character exclaims "life is colour!" as we are treated to myriad hues in the artworks and garments of the characters as well as in the land around them.
We see themes of life, love, and death developing as we watch the main character struggling with her father in order to gain independence from his authority.

Gabbeh is beautiful film; enthralling for its imagery alone, captivating in its storytelling. If you find it, rent it. Watch it. You'll love it.

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