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CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG, THE

SYNOPSIS:
In the vast flat tundra of Mongolia, where nomadic families tend sheep and live frugally, six year old Nansaa finds a puppy in a mountainside cave, and names it Zochor (Spot). Her father fears Zochor might have been living with the wolves who often attack his flock and wants Nansaa to send the puppy away, much to her anguish. He goes to town to sell the skin of two sheep recently killed by the wolves, and Zochor stays. The family, including Nansaa's two little siblings, get ready to move on, dismantling their 'yurt' (circular tent-like home) and loading up the carts for the yaks to trudge. When Nansaa's kid brother goes missing, Zochor - who's been left behind - gets to be a hero.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Not unlike her much loved film, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Byambasuren Davaa uses the documentary format to tell a story about her homeland, although the camel's story had more dramatic tension than this cute but thin tale. The dog is a likeable white mutt with a couple of big black spots, but the father's demands to his daughter to send it back into the nowhereland doesn't quite give the film enough conflict to make it recognisably dramatic.

Although anthropologically interesting, and clearly made with great affection for the fading traditions of nomadic Mongolians facing a degree of urbanisation, Yellow Dog requires perseverance - albeit pleasant enough.

Having spent much time finding a suitable family, Davaa simply overlays the story of the dog onto the documenting of their days, their routines and their cultural habits. The story itself has its roots in an ancient Mongolian tale about a dog and a young girl, but with different elements. All this makes the film resonate with the texture of its people and places, and the cute factor helps to offset the absence of a stronger story.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG, THE (PG)
(Mongolia/Germany, 2005)

Höhle des gelben Hundes, Die

CAST: Babbayar Batchuluu, Nansal Batchuluun, Nansalmaa Batchuluun, Buyandulam Daramdadi, Batchuluun Urjindorj

PRODUCER: Byambasuren Davaa

DIRECTOR: Byambasuren Davaa

SCRIPT: Byambasuren Davaa

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Schönauer

EDITOR: Sarah Clara Weber

MUSIC: Börte

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 5, 2006







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