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Hassan's most valuable possession is his cow. At the same time, it is the only cow in the village. But when Hassan has to leave for a short while, the pregnant animal is found dead in its shed. The villagers try to cover up the incident when Hassan returns, claiming the cow has run away. The animal's disappearance leads to Hassan losing first his social standing and then his mind. He's now convinced he is a cow. The film was only approved by the Iranian censor after an introductory sequence had been added, setting the poverty portrayed in a time decades earlier. The Cow is seen as one of the most important Iranian films ever made.