Monday, November 10, 2008

"Gabbeh" (Language - Persian) (1996) - Movie Review

If some one could let me know what in the name of art did “Gabbeh” tries to say, I would feel a little happy of my artistic ignorance and blame myself for the inadequate nature to understand the eloquence or articulation of the film. But it would be far from the reality and a test of patience for an avid filmgoer like me. This Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf gives something resembling a moral story from our child hood books but uninteresting and ridiculously boring without any agenda whatsoever. Forget the subtlety or the metaphor or the symbolism but the distraught cacophonic voice of the elderly man (Hossein Moharami) haunts me even now beyond the wolf like sound made by another horse riding man in the film. What is this and what is the point of even attempting to make such a film in the name of abstract art? Its abstractness is not a high stand too but a confused individual giving a wonderful photography of characteristics of none.

Attempting to explain the plot line of “Gabbeh” would put me in the awkwardness in the eyes of the readers. Because it neither suggests whether the sudden appearance of this woman named Gabbeh (Shaghayeh Djodat) from the carpet (“Gabbeh” means carpet in Persian) being washed by this old couple represents their marriage or the fantasy land of fable story she tells about her clan and her eternal love for a howling man. It in its mellow pace injects the potion of colourful yet bleached with its incoherent storytelling into the viewers to not bring in any encouragement to tell something simple or even dumb.

Dumb films, I can understand because it has the property of one such. “Gabbeh” is a child writing a story without any guidance. It is not cute either to appreciate the imaginative demonstration of the director. I for one do not believe in a story structure or an ending or anything at all. I believe in poetry of the film without any purpose but the beauty of it laying it out to the viewers who come with no expectation than to look for a good film. I love the audacity of certain film makers pushing the envelope of the experimentation into taking the viewer on a tour to the territories unexplored and mainly dangerously driven. Mohsen Makhmalbaf does not seem to even acknowledge that interest from the viewers. There is a denial in the uncommunicative manner the film takes on.

It has the narrative character of Miss Gabbeh telling about her family. A male chauvinistic father and the disciples of him as daughters and the uncle (Abbas Sayah) who comes out of nowhere and wants to marry some one for no reason. What is happening in the screen? I have been utterly devastated by the abuse of the screenplay, insult to the audience and the offensive nature in giving a film of inhumanity but in “Gabbeh” none of those are there but the inability to exist in a dimension for an enthused film lover and appears to make some meaning only Makhmalbaf could understand. True that an artist makes a film honest to his persona in first place before considering the audience and I am a great admirer and supporter of such philosophy but I am also befuddled and a little bit offended by the inactivity and chaos shown by the director out here.

Even in my dislike towards the films of Tarkovsky, there was a level of achievement in the presentation of the concept in his stream of approach. In the distaste I had for the films, there was a line of plot or in the blandness of it existed an end. Despite the meaningless flow, it had something going for it. In “Gabbeh” more than the high stand, it is the frustration of unable to understand even a single scene. I am not sure whether I hate my ignorance or the director’s presentation. Either way, “Gabbeh” did not make any sense.


Barath said...

I get reminded of the "Regional Films" we used to watch as kids in DD Channel every sunday (awaiting tamil movie's turn once every 10 weeks or so) May be we should find those movies and watch 'em daa!!!

Ashok said...

Actually I thought of it too :-).