Saturday, September 6, 2008
Genghis Blues (1999)
The late, great physicist Richard Feynman once said to his audience during a lecture "...I saw a car with the license plate ARW357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!" It's probably about the same chance that the American musician who wrote the Steve Miller Band hit "Jet Airliner" would ever win an award in a Tuvan throat-singing competition, in Tuva. I quote Feynman because he was largely responsible for the western interest in this obscure republic of southern Siberia. This is all explained in the documentary, and it's one of many things that make this story, which might otherwise have been better-suited for a heartwarming news segment about cultural exchange, particularly interesting. Whether or not you enjoy the sound of throat-singing, you can't help but be impressed by Paul Pena's career, as well as the beauty of the landscapes and the people of Tuva, which he was unable, sadly, to see.