Gabbeh is a brilliantly colorful, profoundly romantic ode to beauty, nature, love and art. Mohsen Makhmalbaf originally traveled to the remote steppes of southeastern Iran to document the lives of an almost extinct tribe of nomads. For centuries, these wandering families created special carpets – Gabbeh – that served both as artistic expression and autobiographical record of the lives of the weavers. Spellbound by the exotic countryside, and by the tales behind the Gabbehs, Makhmalbaf’s intended documentary evolved into a fictional love story which uses a gabbeh as a magic story – telling device weaving past and present’ fantasy and reality.
On the banks of a stream, an old woman and her husband are washing their Gabbeh. From this carpet comes forth a beautiful young woman – aptly named Gabbeh – who shares her epic tale: she is desperately in love with a mysterious horseman who follows her clan from after. Though her father has agreed to let her marry the man, season after season, the horseman follows Gabbeh—always present, always waiting, howling songs of love after nightfall.
Delicately interlaced with this simple and touching love story are the people whose lives are shaped by the rhythms of nature, and who instinctively express the joys and sorrows of life through song, poetry, and the tales they tell in their brilliantly-hued weavings.
- Best Artistic Film – Tokyo Festival (Japan) 1996.
- One of 10 selected films by critics – Times (USA) 1996.
- Best Director – Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
- Special Critics Award - Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
Best Asian Feature Film – Singapore Festival (Singapore) 1997.
I think Gabbehs are like good Iranian films. What attracts foreign audiences to Iranian films is their simplicity and their re-creation of nature. These are the same two qualities that have made Gabbehs popular in foreign markets as well. In western countries, people are overwhelmed by difficult, complicated, and rough situations. When they go to the movies they don’t want to see the same complexity and violence they are surrounded by. That is why they are fascinated by simple Iranian films that remind them of nature. Iranian Gabbehs also have a sort of naturalistic poetry about them that gives you a sense of tranquility. You feel that you have spread nature on the floor of your living room.
“Gabbehs have soothing designs somewhat similar to the simple paintings of children. Unfortunately, out of every ten thousand Iranians, only one might have a Gabbeh at this house, or out of every one thousand Iranians, only one might have heard of it. What did we used to sit on forty years ago? A carpet or a kelim. And what is a carpet, except some wool and color and the labor of the weaver? And what is wool, except the labor of a herder? And what is color, except the labor of girls picking flowers in the fields? And don’t we make all of these out of our own labor our own materials here? Gabbeh is one of the most original types of nomadic carpets.
Original Title: Gabbeh
Screenwriter, Editor, Set Designer, Sound Designer & Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Director of Photography: Mahmoud Kalari
Sound: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
Executive Manager and Still Photographer: Mohammad Ahmadi
Music: Hossein Alizadeh
1996, Color, 72 mins.
International Sales: MK2 (France)
- Cannes International Film Festival, France 1996.
- Festival of Iranian films in Royal film Archive , Belgium 1996 .
- Melbourne International Film Festival , Australia 1996 .
- Montreal International Film Festival, Canada 1996.
- Toronto International Film Festival, Canada 1995.
- Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada 1995.
- New York Film Festival ,USA 1996.
- Tellurid International Film Festival, USA 1996.
- International Film Festival of Vienalle, Austria 1996.
Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan 1996.
- Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada 1996.
- Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil 1996.
- Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Argentina 1996.
- Sitges International Film Festival, Spain 1996.
- The 14th Turin International Festival of young Cinema , Italy 1996.
- London International Film Festival, UK 1996.
- Lisbon International Film Festival, Portugal 1996.
- New Delhi International Film Festival, India 1997.
- Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden 1997.
The 10th Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore 1997.
- Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech 1997.
- Sochi international Film Festival, Russia 1997.
- Hamburg International Film Festival, Germany 1997.
- Film From the South’97 Film Festival , Norway 1997.
- Phnom Penh Film Festival , Combodia 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Films at The Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto, Canada 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Films at Montreal Conservatoire ,Canada 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Films at The Pacific Cinematheque, Vancouver, Canada 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Films at The Northwest Film Center , Portland, 1997.
The Festival of Iranian Films at The Film Center of Chicago, USA 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Film at The Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA 1997.
- Museum of Fine Arts of Boston ,USA 1997.
- Museum of Modern Art of New York, USA 1997.
- Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, USA 1997.
- The Festival of Iranian Films at The UCLA Film Archive, USA 1997. “A Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
- The Festival of Iranian Films at Cleveland Cinematheque, Canada 1997.“A Tribute to Mohsen Makhmalbaf”
- Festival of Iranian films at Stockholm, Sweden 1997.
- Philipines Film Festival , Philipin 1997
- Copenhague Film Festival, Denmark 1997
Hambourg Film Festival, Germany 1997
- Oslo Film Festival , Norway 1997
- The Festival of Iranian films at Cinematheque Bonn , Germany 1997
- Taipei Film Festival , Taiwan 1997
- Dhaka Film Festival , Bangladesh 1998
- Polfilm Stockholm , Sweden 1998
- Buenos Aires Film Festival , Argentina 1998
- Gotebourg Film Festival , Sweden 1998
- Vienne Film Festival, Austria 1998
- Beirut Film Festival , Lebanon 1998
Ljubljana Film Festival, Latvia 1999
- Festival of Iranian film Festival at Rabat, Maraco 2000.
- The Festival of Iranian Films in Hungary, 2000
The Festival of Iranian Films in Leipzig, 2000.
“ A retrospective of Mohsen Makhmalbaf”