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Reviews & Ratings for
The Cave of the Yellow Dog More at IMDbPro »Die Höhle des gelben Hundes (original title)

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41 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

a beautiful little movie!

Author: kunsang choezom from Germany
31 July 2005

Its a beautiful, quiet movie about the scenic Mongolian nomad life. It very well befits as, but not only as, a children movie as it doesn't contain any violence or sexual hints. Its above all a praise for a life close to nature and enchants with its depiction of the nomad family life and breathtaking landscape views. The story of the heroine of the movie, a little girl, is quietly told in a manner that Hollywood productions have almost exclusively unlearned. Movies don't need to cost 80 million dollars to be a lasting memory. This little movie has an odd strength to it, probably drawing it from the old Mongolian culture it themes to depict.

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31 out of 36 people found the following review useful:


Author: nin from Paris
21 November 2005

Beautiful and moving. The story is simple, a girl who wants to keep a stray dog and a dad who refuses, because he believes it might have grown up with wolves . As you will see, a great movie does not need explosions and special effects (if you are into movies with violence and action, it is definitely not for you). There are no actors in this film, just simple people. It is not an ethnographic documentary or a guide to life in the is just a film about humble people who live differently and who can be happy without the modern comforts. It has won a number of awards: Golden Starfish Prize, KODAK Award, Artemis Records Original Movie Score Award Hamptons 2005.

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28 out of 33 people found the following review useful:


Author: (loig7) from OL MUFC Eire
28 July 2006

Quite simply, "The Cave Of The Yellow Dog" is a wonderful film: it is heart-warming, life-affirming. It is simple, touching, unpretentious, with a documentary quality to it (how do people live there); it came as no surprise to see on the closing credits that this is a genuine family. Very probably non-professional actors (how could the small children act?). I saw it twice in two days and on second viewing, one can appreciate its subtle construction, how small details pave the way for slight plot twists: more going on under the surface than it originally looks like. For instance the reason behind the father's reluctance; the mixing of dogs and wolves; the people's economic conditions; the (potentially dangerous) presence of vultures in the background, and so on, all of which get to play a part at some later stage. Just go and see it, this film is an utter breath of fresh air. Beautiful ethnic music as well.

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27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

An Underlying Sadness

Author: Sheila Cornelius from London, England
7 July 2006

Critics seem to have missed an important underlying message of the film: the life of the nomads is incompatible with the modern world and it is inescapable for this particular family, no matter how much they may want to move on. From the moment the returned child builds up the heap of dried dung to resemble flats we know she longs for the town. The parents talk of moving there when their daughter returns to school, but the father cannot earn enough to support them. His herdsmen friends talk of the number of people already gone. There is a lot of symbolism here, of which the melted scoop is only one, as well as spoken hints of a fate that traps people within it. As the older sibling tells the baby, 'You can't play with God.' (or, apparently, alter fate)The basket becomes a prison - literally, when the girl places it over the dog at one point - and the world of the steppes is dangerous, full of wolves, vultures and even storms. For all it's picturesque scenery and domestic charm, this is a redundant life, for which any political change will come too late; only the children will have a chance to leave - the symbolic yellow dog(s) of the wise woman's story, which the parents will need to sacrifice.

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

beautiful film and music as well

Author: whiteroom from Taiwan
23 September 2006

boring?? yeah, I think some people may feel this way.Perhaps they just watched too many Hollywood films and get used to the pace and storyline. I didn't watch Lassie Come Home so I have no idea what's the similarity between the 2 films. ( I doubt it) But this film is great. I got this film on DVD (Japanese release) and watched it with my mom and sister. We all love it. It's the atmosphere in the film that attracted me.

Yeah,it may not have the strong storyline, however it's the simplicity that makes this film great and touching. By the way, the music in the film is excellent! This film reminds me some of Iranian films regarding children and animals I've watched. They may not live a wealthy life but they do cherish what they have.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Spending time with the Batchuluun family in the Mongolian steppes - a simple, endearing family story

Author: Ruby Liang (ruby_fff) from sf, usa
25 November 2006

Off the bat, the film title "Cave of the Yellow Dog" is poetically applied (it could have been "The Adventures of Nansal and Zochor"). You'd notice the little dog that 5-year old Nansal found is not exactly 'yellow,' hence need not wonder about its color - simply be an 'invisible guest' to the everyday living of the Batchuluun family of five. Namely our little 'heroine' Nansal (Nansa), eldest of the three children, mama (Buyandulam Daramdadi) and papa (Urjindorj), little sister (Nansalmaa) and baby brother (Batbayar). There's also an older woman (Teserenpuntsag Ish, reminds me of grandmothers) with sage and 'caringness': her age-old wisdom felt as she told Nansal 'folkloric' tale and asked her if "one can have one grain of rice rest on the top of a needle." "Impossible," little Nansal answered her own curiosity about life after death. "That's how hard it is to become another person in the next life."

It may seem the film is at its own leisurely pace, absolutely no hurriedness. Everything so naturally happens. There is dramatic moments of suspense, brief as it may: will there be danger? When I heard Mama's heeded words to Nansal about her little brother, I can see she's quite distraught and distracted by Zochor being left behind. What an ominous-looking flock of vultures.

It's fascinating to watch the ritual of moving, which is a Batchuluun family activity where everyone chips in. Filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa ("The Story of the Weeping Camel" 2003) artistically shows us the integral process of dismantling the portable tent (yurt) they live in, spoke by spoke. Looking at the tent site from above, focus of the square slot insertions in the top ring for each rod - it takes concerted effort, indeed. The girls rolling up the rugs, packing off the little furnishings they have (even active little brother has a hand). Mama also has to round up the herd of sheep. Papa yoking up the cows to five carts full. Writer-director-co-producer Davaa knows how to convey the nuance and cultural sensibility of the Mongolian nomads. Little things and family togetherness sure mean a lot.

The editing language (how the story was told) optimizes close-up's, nature/landscape scenes vs. dialog. The implied plot progression with words heard off screen, followed with facial expressions on screen, especially Nansal's emotions, be it joyous or sad, come through lucid. For example the ending treatment - you'll like the way it's presented. It's not obvious - what we saw moments ago and what we get to see eventually suggests what may have happened in between - the outcome of things yet so fluidly natural. An effective cinematic storytelling. Heartwarmingly' we'd smile at how cleverly the expectation fulfills. Filmmaker Davaa is gentle and creative, full of patience and humanity. She has a charming way of delivering an endearing human story putting us at ease to accept the flow of things.

This may not have the high drama of Hollywood's "The Yearling" 1946, the fun and solid companionship in "My Dog Skip" 1999, the collie star in "Lassie, Come Home" 1943, or the child acting genius in the Swedish "My Life as A Dog" 1985 - but the premise of a little girl and her beloved stray dog somehow has an intrinsic mix of family values and parent-child lovingness irresistible.

The film is of German production, hence the title aka " Höhle Des Gelben Hundes, Die."

11/26/06 'Previous life. Next life. Present life.' Hints of philosophical drifts in Davaa's second 'docu-narrative' - Still thinking about "Cave of the Yellow Dog." At one point in the film: "What were you in your previous life?" little Nansa asked her mother. Remembering the beginning scene: we see from afar Nansa and her father burying their family dog. She is inquisitive, and papa said to her that 'no one really dies, just become something else in the next life.'

We're fortunate to be able to follow along with Mongolian filmmaker Davaa and her film crew (from Germany), capturing the family spirits of this five-member unit. They are not actors but truly the Batchuluun family. Cinematography is remarkably beautiful delivering the Mongolian grassy plains and vast sky. (Reminds me of "Close to Eden" 1991, a Russian film also with Mongolian landscapes and nomadic life.) And the music is wonderful, at times have strains liken to Philip Glass (as in filmmaker Godfrey Reggio's cinematic montage pieces). There's a peacefulness to it all - seeing nature and humanity so integrally co-exist.

If you'd like to spend some 'quiet' non-stressful time at the movies, try "Cave of the Yellow Dog." Check out the official site ''. From 'Director's Notes' we can gain insights to how Davaa came to create her film and the thoughts behind the stories she wanted to tell, including the tale about the fable of the Yellow Dog.

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

This is a wonderful film

Author: kitty harvey from United Kingdom
2 September 2006

I loved this film. The story was slight and simply told but not, as so many people seem to suggest, cutesy, sentimental or manipulative. A little Mongolian girl makes friends with a puppy she finds in a cave; Her father wants her to leave dog where she found it - little girl struggles to keep dog. Dog turns out to be mans best friend after all. Everybody's happy. And Why not?

This film is so beautiful - the rolling steppe, the vast and broody skies, storms, lost children, marauding wolves - lots of excitement - car chases and people screwing and exploding bombs with bits of bodies flying about are not the only excitement available to us thank God.

It is exciting to see a mode of life so totally different to our own and portrayed so honestly and without any moral squint at all. I was enthralled from start to finish. The scene where they take down the yurt and pack up their belongings to move to new grazing - wonderful music by the way - was perfect. And although the film suggested (never preached) that this way of life might not endure for too long I, for one, felt that in spite of the hardships and unrelenting battle with nature involved in their lives, going to work in McDonalds could never be seen as a tempting alternative.

Go and see it.

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20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful Movie!!!

Author: JeanPaulJ from Switzerland
25 October 2005

This is one of the nicest movies of all time... It is not really a drama and not really anything in fact. This movie just cannot be classified... All I can say that there is some sort of humor in this Movie. Little, very little but it shows how Mongolians perceive our new ways of life for them, and how they cope with some of our things that we find perfectly normal and ordinary but they find is the coolest thing ever! I hope that you will enjoy this movie as many of us in German-speaking nations have over this movie. Maybe that thsi will come to America and maybe Southern and further northern countries of Europe. Just remember: This is a story about the life of the last true Mongolians of the Steppe.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Breathtakingly beautiful film

Author: massaster760 from United States
14 December 2006

I must confess that I was unfamiliar with director Byambasuren Davaa's work before I sat down and watched The Cave of the Yellow Dog-Director of The Weeping Camel- so I have no measuring stick to compare against't this film. Even though, Cave stands well enough on its own.

The Cave of the Yellow Dog centers around Nansaa, A little girl in a family of five nomadic Mongolians. Her father is a sheep-herder, while mom helps with the care taking and feeding of her her family. One day Nasaa comes across a small dog hiding in a cave, which she quickly names Zachor (means Spot) and takes home (altough her father is most displeased about it) From then on the film centers mostly on the three children in the household, and Nasaa's relationship with the dog. This film is pure simplicity, in terms of plot, and is mostly about people living in a basic, if not normal, world. Far from the everyday rat-race of most people's lives.

Those of you who are fans of gorgeous, lush cinematography, won't be able to find fault with this film. The landscapes portrayed in Cave are of the Mongolian Highlands and are amongst't the most beautiful ever captured on film. I was constantly blown away by each successive shot. I really can't go on enough about how awesome the cinematography and landscapes are in this film. It really has to be seen to be believed.

The acting is especially well done, especially when you factor in the extremely Young age of the three children in the film (god knows how long it took for the director to capture many of the scenes). Mom and Dad (as the film never really lets you know their names) also did great jobs in portraying the lives of nomadic peoples.

The score is almost as beautiful as the landscapes featured in the film. The music features traditional sounding oriental flute and violin music, which sounds very melancholy and heart-wrenching.

My only reservation is that, I think a lot of people will find this movie boring, as it has a very slow pacing. And now there is no action or explosions in it. The film actually looks very low budget, as if it was shot on a digital camera. But why it may lack a huge budget, this movie has a big heart, as well as a very relevant political message.

So if a good family story is your kind of thing, or your interested in seeing achingly beautifully filmed shots of the Mongolian Highlands, or if you just want to bring home a movie your significant other won't complain about, absolutely see this film.

My rating 9 out of 10 (Worth Owning).

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Good foreign language cinema suitable for children

Author: Paul Martin from Melbourne, Australia
30 October 2006

Following The Story of the Weeping Camel, this is another instalment or chapter documenting a nomadic culture gradually disappearing in Mongolia. By telling the story from a child's perspective, it is very observational, and captures little details that may seem passé to those within the culture, but fascinating to others.

The cinematography and music are both quietly beautiful, creating a nice atmosphere. There is much warmth in the depiction of family life. The film skilfully avoids sentimentality. Like the just-released Offside, the characters are all non-professionals, adding authenticity.

For what it's worth, my five year old son loved it and gave it 10/10 stars.

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