‘Ballad of a White Cow’ Review: An Iranian Widow Seeks Justice in an Unfair Society

Already devastated by her husband’s execution, Mina (played by co-director Maryam Moghaddam) discovers that the man she loves was put to death for a crime he didn’t commit in “Ballad of a White Cow.” That would seem to be injustice enough for one person to bear, but in conservative Iranian culture, now that Mina’s a widow, she has less power than ever before: Fired from her job, evicted from her apartment and pressured toward marrying her pushy brother-in-law (Pourya Rahimiam), Mina faces limited options when it comes to caring for her deaf-mute daughter Bita (Avin Poor Raoufi).If all of this sounds like a recipe for a thoroughly depressing spiral toward the bottom, à la “Bicycle Thieves” and its neorealist ilk, think again.

Sure, “Ballad” can be brutal, but Moghaddam and co-helmer Behtash Sanaeeha (who first collaborated on “Risk of Acid Rain”) also see it as a

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