Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mongol (2007)

Mongol was directed by a Russian filmmaker, shot mostly in China (in Inner Mongolia), financed by companies in four countries, and was Kazakhstan's official entry, for which it received a nomination, for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2007 Academy Awards. It is the first film in a trilogy and tells the story of Temudgin's (Genghis Khan's) early days from boyhood to when he first becomes Khan of all Mongols. Some Mongolians are understandably turned off by the fact that he is played by a hip Japanese actor, and that his main rival is played by a Chinese actor, but most non-Asian viewers will probably not notice or care. There are certain points in the film when you just want him to hurry up and take over the world already, but for the most part it is visually stunning and engaging. Although the historical accuracy of many details is suspect, it does a decent job of representing the motives of perhaps one of the most misunderstood historical figures. Because a very strong case can be made that he did not make the world a more savage place, but actually a more civilized one.

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