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THE CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG

Director: BYAMBASUR EN DAVAA

GERMANY-MONGOLIA • 2005 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 93 MIN.


AFTER THE EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESS OF THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL, WHICH SHE CO-DIRECTED, BYAMBASUREN DAVAA RETURNS TO MONGOLIA FOR HER SECOND FILM.
Borrowing the same technique of blending documentary and drama as in the first film, Davaa engaged a real nomadic family to play themselves in their own story. The film’s focus is on six year-old Nansal, the oldest of three children in the Batchuluun family, a nomad clan who live in a moveable camp in the barren plains of Mongolia. One day she brings home a small dog which she finds in a cave, but her father is furious because he fears the dog might attract wolves to the camp and ravage his flock of goats. She defies her father’s order to return the dog, but he ties the dog to a post when the family ups and moves camp. As it turns out, the dog becomes a lifesaver when the family realises they have left behind their baby son. Davaa’s skill is in warmly depicting the details of the family’s rural life without appearing educational, and sustaining the human elements of the slim story so that it never becomes boring. Life here is stripped down to an existence of survival and mutual support and western audiences will not only appreciate the uncluttered nature of it all but find plenty to relate to in the family’s interactions. The title refers to a legend told to Nansal by an old woman and illustrates the Mongolian belief that every dog will be reincarnated in human form.—Mike Goodridge/’Screen International’.

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