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In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the occupying army. However he is captured when the army tries to requisition cattle from the herdsmen at the same time as the commandant meets with the reincarnated Grand Lama. After being shot, the army discovers an amulet that suggests he was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. They find him still alive, so the army restores his health and plans to use him as the head of a Mongolian puppet regime. Written by
Well constructed, but about as subtle as a stripper at a Baptist wedding!
"Storm Over Asia" is a well made film. As other reviewers have pointed out, the film expertly uses film editing to make a very modern style film for 1928. It is really artistic and worth seeing--though there are also some serious lulls in the film that could have been tightened up a bit. However, that being said, the film is very obvious propaganda by the new Soviet government--and it sure isn't subtle about it.
A Mongol goes to town to sell a very valuable silver fox skin to the evil capitalists. Naturally, being evil (and fat) capitalists, they cheat the simple Mongolian man BUT they have a surprise--he won't just stand there and accept this maltreatment. He attacks the bad white men and flees to the hills--and eventually becomes a member of the communist partisans in the Russian Revolution. At this point, the film seems to drop this plot and A LOT of footage of Mongolian Buddhists is shown--including their costumes, dances and the like. At first, it seems like a nice bit of footage about these people but eventually you realize that the film is meant to mock Buddhist beliefs about the reincarnated Lama. Then, the communist forces attack--trying to kill off the evil forces of counter-revolution and international capitalism. Well what about our Mongolian hero? Where does he come into all this? See the film and find out for yourself--and you'll probably be quite surprised where the film goes next.
From an artistic point of view, the film is pretty good. The ending is also quite rousing. But as propaganda, it's very heavy-handed and not nearly as convincing or realistic as the much more famous film, "Potemkin" (also called "Battleship Potemkin"). I do understand that the new Soviet government was attempting to legitimize itself and drum up support by this film, but it just seemed to take the wrong approach as it lacked subtlety. As another reviewer pointed out, the villains in this film are just caricatures.
By the way, IMDb lists the film at 82 minutes. The DVD I watched clocks in at 125 minutes!! Is IMDb wrong or are there multiple versions and I just saw a longer one?
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