In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ...
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In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their clans is determined less by wealth or even military power (both rare) then by victories in the ancient, though game of buskashi, a vicious form of polo dating back to Genghis Khan, in which the chapendaz (participating horsemen) use their horse-whips on both mounts and rivals in a ruthless fight for a heavy 'ball', a dead calf, which must be carried a long way, almost impossible with all the others mercilessly assailing. Tursen, a former champion, now holds the status of village notable thanks to his position as stable-keeper of the regional lord Osman Bey, and has finally bred a horse without equal, the white stallion Jahil, in time for the royal tournament on the plain of Bagrami, just outside the capital Kabul. As Tursen is too old and has a crooked leg, his son Uraz, even prouder and with a ... Written by
The film began shooting using 65mm negative (Super Panavision), but during production Columbia Pictures went through a change in management. The budgets for this and another 65mm production, Mackenna's Gold (1969), were cut and both films were forced to switch over to 35mm anamorphic Panavision. However, both were released in 70mm, with the later-shot sections blown up. In later years, the mix-and-match formats made restoration of the films more time-consuming and expensive than if they'd been shot entirely in 65mm, and they were preserved in 35mm only. See more »
When Tursen (Jack Palance) has a flashback to one of his past victories, one can tell that he is swinging a phony, lightweight, stuffed goat carcass around when his horse jumps up on the mud hut. See more »
What demon has possessed you to mock these good people with that piece of dog-bait?
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Omar Sharif and Jack Palance may be the only names in this cast that most will recognize but the story based on an Afghan tale, set in Afghanistan before the Russian invasion, is a classic tale which lays out a great deal of Afghan culture during the period before the great disruption by the West. Afghanistan returned to the public eye after the post-911 invasion to depose the Taliban but the state of knowledge about these marvelous independent people who fought the British Empire to a standstill, still remains obscure. The game of buzgashi, a kind of polo for Weidman, was the core for many of the tribesmen. Its importance as an institution marking the status of tribes and individuals has no real counterpart in Western culture, and this is a tale of intrigue and self-learning, framed in a cultural setting we still have yet to understand.
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