Gabbeh. 1996. Iran. Written and directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. With Shaghayegh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Roghieh Moharami. 35mm. In Persian; English subtitles. 75 min.
The nomadic people of the Qashqai and Bakhtiari communities weave a colorful rug called Gabbeh. As filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf observed their life, what began as a documentary project turned into something else—more surreal than real. A beautiful young woman named Gabbeh has seemingly leapt out of a rug depicting two small figures: a woman and a horseman. She finds herself in front of an old couple and begins to tell them about her lover, the horseman, whom she wants to marry but must wait for her father’s approval. Cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari captures all the vivid colors that brighten life in this wondrous fable about a woman’s desires.