Combustible Celluloid
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With: Shaghayegh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Roghieh Moharami, Abbas Sayahi
Written by: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Directed by: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Farsi with English subtitles
Running Time: 75
Date: 06/26/1996

Gabbeh (1996)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Magic Carpet Ride

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Mohsen Makhmalbaf's beautiful, colorful film was probably the first Iranian film to be released in the U.S., or at least it's the first one I ever saw. The film follows the nomadic Ghashghai people, whose bright, bold carpets tell stories. The main yarn features a young woman who loves a mysterious stranger, but is forbidden to marry him. Makhmalbaf attempts to follow the carpet idea by making his film dreamily romantic and non-realistic. Events seem to leap around in time and space, much like a dream. Gabbeh is a deceptive introduction to Makhmalbaf's work, however, which tends to be far more brutally realistic (see: A Moment of Innocence and Kandahar).

DVD Details: New Yorker Video released this film on DVD in 2005, complete with a commentary track by film critic Godfrey Cheshire and a trailer.

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