A tonic. I like quiet films, set in more grounded cultures than mine. Grateful to Byambasuren Davaa & Urna Chahar-Tugchi for introducing me to Mongolian life. Urna reflects: "Old things are destroyed so that something new can evolve. Is that loss justified?" Not if it's sweeping & indiscriminate. The new then builds on nothing. I was moved when Urna finally coaxed memory & song from the grandmother on "her mountain."
Films that focus on ethnomusicological quests are few in number (see Latcho Drom). Here, the search for the tune and lyrics to an old song is the vehicle for exploring recent Mongolian history and currently changing conditions. Like the Cave of the Yellow Dog, it is in no hurry and provides long shots of the stunning landscape. I wish I had more background knowledge because some of the silences seem very heavy.
This one was special. Functioning as both a celebration of Mongolian cultural traditions and a resistance piece against hegemonic, homogenizing narratives of the Han Chinese, Two Horses is both profoundly powerful and beautifully intimate. Davaa's work is absolutely worth the watch.
Profoundly beautiful film about music, love (communal & familial), cultural identity, and nature. An absolutely unique, deeply moving and breathtaking vision and artwork - one that I will not soon forget.
I enjoyed the opportunity to see Mongolian culture and how it has gone through recent changes. Revolutions have the ability to transform old customs into unrecognizable ones by imposing new rules in written and spoken language and music as we see on her journey to restore a piece of her forgotten culture.
More than a journey of personal grief, this is a portrait of a fragmented country and culture evolving under the shadow of globalizing forces. Yet despite its exploration of a place shaped by violence the film is deeply peaceful, thanks largely to Urna herself, always kind, always courageous, and always brightly smiling—so much so that her disappointments and catharsis are all the more deeply impactful.
That opening scene with the horses! All the herd scenes were Lascaux alive. Deep stuff—like an undertone you only hear in your bones—coursing under this film. Strong slow subtle magic. Thank you, Mubi.
Soporific effort at documentation, exploring little beyond the search for an elusive fragment of tradition and providing little context. Generic in its camera work, with the occasional revealing image. 1.5/5.