Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not Cranky at the Movies

Recently I saw Mongol, the Genghis Khan bio-pic from Sergei Bodrov. The movie won Best Foreign Language film at Cannes. I was absorbed throughout. The film manages both to give an epic sense of uniting Mongol tribes into a mighty, feared empire and to focus on two personal stories: Khan's love affair with his wife and his rivalry with his blood-brother. Also, the sound track features genuinely weird (to Western ears) music that adds to the sense of the exotic. The combination of alien place and era with timeless personal stories (I was reminded of Ben Hur and his blood-brother rival Masala) is very effective.

After I got home, I looked up Genghis Khan to find out how much of the movie's story was historic, and was surprised to find out that most of it was. Temudgen's father was poisoned by a rival clan at an on-the-road meal, leaving the young future Genghis Khan and his family impoverished and unprotected. Temudgen did rescue his kidnapped wife Borte; she was indeed pregnant by an enemy by the time he got her back and he did raise the child as his; there was a deadly battle between him and his former blood-brother. Other bits of the film are obviously fanciful and a bit mystical, but also effective.

I recommend this one.


Daniel said...

My two cents:

I think it adds value to a movie when they get historical details right. Yes, it makes it harder to make an entertaining movie, but, when it's done right, it makes for a better experience at the theater.

TheOFloinn said...

Bortai the Gray-Eyed!

They never "proved" it, but she was a prisoner far too long for Yuchi to be Temujin's son.

A nice book on the Mongol invasion of Europe is Cecelia Holland's Until the Sun Falls

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Mike, are you the same "Mike Flynn" whom I see on Jerry Pournelle's site?

Luke said...

I loved MONGOL too. It managed to have convincing, totally riveting action scenes while presenting us with a new and interesting (real) world rarely seen in films. Ah, to be Mongol, chasing down your wife and lassoing her from horseback..

TheOFloinn said...

bluesman miike Lindner said...
Mike, are you the same "Mike Flynn" whom I see on Jerry Pournelle's site?

Depends. Does he owe you money?