One man's dream of bringing a European cow in his picturesque village in Azerbaijan unsettles the conservative community that wants to keep their secular traditions intact.



Tapdig has a dream of bringing a European cow into his picturesque village in Azerbaijan to improve the condition of his poor family. He decides to call it Madona.

His passion unsettles the traditional community, the Old Men see a threat in having a foreign cow among them as they say its milk is full of chemicals. Even his wife Vafa does not want to take care of such a strange breed. But Tapdig is ready to risk it all and challenges the conservative mentality to open up and rethink the attitude.

How do human beings handle change while remaining true to their own traditions? Holy Cow questions the prejudices against the unknown and how ready are we to accept a newcomer.

Director's Motivation

„Over the last several years, after a century of war and Soviet control, Azerbaijan has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The recent money-flow due to oil exploitation, drastically changed the face of it's capital city, Baku: architectural projects as futuristic high-rises shaped like tongues of fire in glass and steel loom over the Old City, a maze of cobbled streets, gardens and traditional rug sellers dating back to the 12th century. I was born in a village and lived in the countryside for a while, I empathize with people that live close to the nature, they live more sincerely, their sense of community gives them a certain attitude towards materialism! I want to reveal this specificity of the social structure in the village, observing it's customs and hierarchies. Tapdyq's decision is bold, he wants to overcome his condition by means which his community finds offensive to their values. His motivations are individualistic and their significance changes the balance of this well established socio -ecological system. What is happening in Lahij is globally relevant.’’

Imamaddin Hasanov

Producer's Motivation

‘’Imamaddin Hasanov’s project "Holy Cow" is once again confirming his strong interest concerning the shifting of moral values in the Azerbaijani society. Closed systems are forced to open themselves towards a new economic and moral paradigm and in this process old values must legitimate themselves in the new social context. Through his films, he sheds lights on the life of the needy and the less privileged and emphasize their internal conflicts and how they relate with a society that imports new values, not always in accordance with the established local norms. In documentaries, his non-interventionist approach remains loyal to the reality of his characters and in fiction he conveys a cinema verite style by using non-professional actors. His visual concept deals with beautiful, plastic image composition, a strong use of symbolism, long, observational shots and the use of natural light. I personally believe he masters the language of cinema and he is aware of the power of this medium to present reality in such a way that it can changes how we relate with complex aspects of the eternal clash between tradition and progress. Another reason why I choose to produce his films is that I believe that his voice as a filmmaker coming from the tormented Caucasus region must be encouraged and supported in the context of a weak film industry infrastructure.’’

Andra Popescu




Free Art, Kloos & Co. Medien, Conset present

a co-production with ZDF in collaboration with Arte,

HOLY COW a film by Imam Hasanov

supported by Doha Film Institute, Medienboard Berlin,

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program




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