In the snow-swept Mongolian steppes plague strikes the animals and the nomads are forcibly relocated to desolate mining towns. Bagi saves the life of a beautiful coal thief, Zolzaya, and together they reveal the plague was a lie fabricated to eradicate nomadism. A sublime revolution ensues.
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I have just watched this strange and powerful film, and really liked it. There may be blunt allegory here, but necessary as it seems to tell an ancient tale, of the power of youth and freedom. Even a superhero myth here in the form of a shamanic traveller between life and death, freeing the flocks. I'll need to let it soak in to me psyche for a while.
How much more expensive can an original score make a movie production? Like with Altiplano, the beautiful cinematography seemed many times forced into the film's musical selections. Still a very nice one!
Powerful, bleak and evocative allegory, yet both tense and tedious at times. A tad too didactic at times? How much is it simply an 'outsider's' critique and how much a genuine expression of the nomads' experience and response to Soviet intervention?
Having stepped back to think for a while I think I'll say this is a very well-made (beautiful, dreamlike) film with some irresponsible aspects. Although Brosens had been making films in Mongolia for over a decade before this, it still seems a little inappropriate for him and Woodworth to use Mongolian culture as a tool for their critique of modernity. But I don't think I'm the one who gets to decide if they fucked up