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Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Gabbeh is just the second Iranian film ever widely distributed in the U.S. (Jafar Panahi's The White Balloon was the first). A gabbeh is an Iranian carpet produced by the nomadic Ghashghai tribe of southern Iran, comparable to the folk art of American quilts; in the film's opening scenes, an elderly husband and wife travel to a nearby stream to wash their gabbeh, discussing the meaning behind the figures sewn upon it. The rug depicts a woman in blue and a man in red, together on a white horse; suddenly, the woman on the tapestry seems to come to life -- her name… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A work of shimmering beauty."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Movies such as this work like meditation or music, to nudge us toward the important."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"appropriately slight"
‑ Christopher Null,
"This poetic film affirms the knarled beauty of the natural world and the way stories give shape and meaning to life."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Has visual eloquence to spare, a rhythm that pulls you along and a sense of yearning not too often encountered in movies."
‑ Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee
"Visually enchanting."
‑ Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle
"Like its subject, Gabbeh is woven with art."
‑ Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times
"Makhmalbaf weaves together different threads into an unusual and intriguing film."
‑ Ed Scheid, Boxoffice Magazine
"The conceit is sweet but the execution is meandering."
‑ Barbara Shulgasser, San Francisco Examiner
"The movie plays like a mix of documentary and dream; it's part of a cinematic experience that is quite new to Western movie audiences."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"There is hardly a composition in the film that couldn't be extracted and framed."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"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."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"It is the visual imagery of the sheep, the wool being dyed, the rugs being made that take center stage."
‑ Leslie Rigoulot, Film Scouts
"This charmingly poetic film is a real surprise coming from Makhmalbaf, whose incendiary and controversial documentaries and features have been banned in his home country."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"This fairy tale film is a feast for hungry eyes."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for Gabbeh on Rotten Tomatoes