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Mongolia/Germany 2006
Directed by
Byambasuren Davaa
93 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Cave Of The Yellow Dog

Byambasuren Davaa returns to the same subject matter as her first film, the Oscar-nominated The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003) this time without her co-director, Luigi Falorni.  Whilst her film, which looks at the lives of the few remaining nomadic farmers of Mongolia, once again has the end of a way of life as its underlying theme, it is, for the most part, quietly integrated with the main subject, which  is simply the domestic life of the Batchuluun family - husband, wife and 3 young children - over the course of a single summer.

There is not a lot that needs to be said here. Davaa is skilful filmmaker who with her DOP, Daniel Schönauer, and editor, Sarah Clara Weber, has constructed a work which although at times borders on the emotionally manipulative, particularly when it comes to the exploits of the eldest daughter, Nansaa, whose freedoms and responsibilities would never be countenanced by Western parents, who will be as much on the edge metaphorically as she is literally whilst searching for her dog, Zochor.

As long as you are in a relaxed, perhaps even pensive mood, The Cave of the Yellow Dog will beguile with its visual richness and wonderful naturalistic performances by the Batchuluun children, especially the youngest, Babbayar, who deserves to be recognized as one of the scene-stealers of all time.




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