05 March 2020
Documentary intercut with tender narrative drama set in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. When a camel gives birth to a rare white camel colt, the difficult and protracted delivery leads to problems: the mother rejects her baby and refuses him her milk or bodily warmth. This turn of events spells disaster for the nomadic family to whom the camels belong, and they send their two sons off to the nearest town (some 30 miles away, on camels across the desert) to find a musician who can perform the ancient 'Hoos' ceremony that will reconcile the mother with her son. The film won the 2003 European Film Award for Best Documentary.
It is a documentary but narrated like a historical novel. The movie takes the viewer into the secret lives of Mongolian camel herders, where camels assume individual personalities and are almost part of the family. It is plain narration, not emotionally charged, but a good illustration of the life of this nation about which we do not know much.
03 March 2016
A historical epic that covers the early life of the legendary Mongolian leader Genghis Khan (Tadanobu Asano).
The first part of a planned trilogy, the film focuses on the future ruler's brutal childhood, as he suffers starvation and slavery, through to the battle that would cement his power.
Inspired by a poem translated from the Chinese that supposedly tells of Khan's formative years, director Sergei Bodrov ('Prisoner of the Mountains') offers a multidimensional portrait of the conqueror, focusing on the deep relationship he had with his beloved Borte (Khulan Chuluun) who was not only his wife but his most trusted advisor.
Temüjin pledges to unify all of the Mongol tribes, and eventually does, and imposes three basic laws for them to abide by: never kill women and children, always honor your promises and repay your debts even at the cost of your life, and never, ever betray your Khan.
A gripping tale of the cruel life in the steppe at the time of the rise of the Mongol empire, which would go on to take over most of China and establish the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century. Kublai Khan, who was the Emperor of China at the time of Marco Polo’s travels, was the grandson of Genghis, the protagonist of this film.
Other films about China are reviewed here in this blog.
17 October 2014
Tuya is a young woman in Inner Mongolia (part of China) who lives with her paralyzed husband Barter and their two children. They are semi-nomad shepards and live off their sheep. Tuya can't cope with the hardships of providing for her family alone and is persuaded to divorce Barter and re-marry, but on the condition that the new husband will have to care for barter as well.
Tuya is a strong woman, realistically attached to her land and her family, and especially her husband. She works hard to feed them all. But she is also an idealist, because she thinks she can bypass love by marrying another man who could then provide for all of them barter included. She tries with two suitors, but it is clear that Barter can't accept being sidelined while his beloved Tuya belongs to another man.
It is a film on the absolute value of love, which can lead to self-denial and masochism, even suicide, but can't accept compromises.
An intersting film on life in Inner Mongolia, now part of the People's Republic of China, where pastoral traditions mix with the modernity that comes with integration into China. The movie is a Chinese production and the characters speak Chinese, not Mongol.
Tuya è una giovane donna della Mongolia interna (parte della Cina) che vive con Barter (il marito paralizzato) e i due figli in una zona semidesertica. La loro fonte di sostentamento è la pastorizia. Tuya però non riesce più a reggere la fatica e le responsabilità. Accetta quindi di divorziare e risposarsi ma solo con un uomo che si prenda cura non solo dei suoi figli ma anche di Barter.
Tuya è una donna forte, realisticamente attaccata alla sua terra e soprattutto alla sua famiglia, compreso il marito Bater, restato paralizzato in un incidente, ed i figli. Lavora sodo e porta da mangiare a casa per tutti.
Ma anche idealista, perché pensa di poter scavalcare l'amore per poter assicurare al marito semiparalizzato un futuro sposando un altro uomo che si prenda cura di loro. Ci provano in due pretendenti, ma per motivi diversi Bater non può accettare di stare dietro le quinte mentre la moglie crea una nuova famiglia con un altro uomo.
È un film sull'assolutezza dell'amore, che porta fino all'autolesionismo e persino al suicidio per non fare compromessi.
Anche un bel film sulla vita della Mongolia interiore, parte della Cina, dove la cultura pastorale tradizionale si mischia con la modernità portata dall'integrazione con la Repubblica Popolare Cinese. Persino la lingua mongola viene ormai parlata mischiata al cinese.
18 May 2013
From the director of The Story of the Weeping Camel comes another captivatingly beautiful story of nomadic family life in the endless expanse of the Mongolian landscape. While taking a walk, six-year-old Nansaa finds a little black-and-white spotted dog in a cave along the cliffs. She names him 'Zochor' (or 'Spot' in English) and takes him home with her. But her father tells her to get rid of him because wild dogs attack the sheep. When her father goes on a long trip to the city to sell sheepskins, Nansaa keeps the little dog, who becomes her trusted companion. One day she loses track of him in the tundra and, while searching for him, encounters an old nomad woman who tells her the legend of the the cave of the yellow dog… Mongolian with English subtitles; UK Exclusive Director Interview.
This film is highly instructive because it takes the viewer into the most intimate life of a nomadic Mongolian family. It is not really about a dog. There are no professional actors but a real family living its normal life. We can see the immense spaces of Mongolia and get a glimpse of its traditions. At the same time, we see how modernization is changing the country, with technology affecting kids' education, transport and the availability of information. In my vew Mongolia is changing for the better, and I don't understand those who criticize change and would like to hold on to a backward and obscure past.
Very useful to prepare a trip to Mongolia.
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