The movie is an epic story of a young Genghis Khan and how events in his early life lead him to become a legendary conqueror. The 9-year-old Temüjin is taken on a trip by his father to select a girl as his future wife. He meets Börte, who says she would like to be chosen, which he does. He promises to return after five years to marry her. Temüjin's father is poisoned on the trip, and dies. As a boy Temüjin passes through starvation, humiliations and even slavery, but later with the help of Börte he overcomes all of his childhood hardships to become one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known.Written by
The film took 14 months to shoot, and had a crew of 400 people (300 Chinese and 100 Russians), and over 1500 extras. Because there were so many different nationalities working on the film (Germans, Mongols, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhstanis), a team of over 30 interpreters were on set at all times. See more »
When Temujin and Borte are fleeing their pursuers, Temujin is shown shooting his bow (in a "Parthian shot" manner) at this pursuers, killing one. In the very next screen shot, Borte and Temujin are shown racing their horses - Temujin's bow is again in its saddle case. See more »
Now you're Khan and I'm at your feet. Are you happy?
I forgive you, brother.
It's too late. I'll always be a rock in your boot.
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Mongol (2007), was co-written and directed by Sergei Bodrov. It was filmed in Kazakhstan, and is in Mongolian with English subtitles. It's a biography of Ghenghis Khan, especially his rise to power. The movie quotes an old proverb: "Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger." Actually, as portrayed in the film, Ghenghis Khan was hardly a weak cub, even as a young child. However, he certainly became a tiger when grown--whether brutal or just powerful is another question.
The film is more or less consistent with the Wikipedia report of Khan's life. He was captured and enslaved as a boy, but managed to escape and eventually conquer his local tribal enemies. (The movie portrays Ghenghis Khan as a young boy and then a young man. The film ends before we can see Khan's eventual consolidation of his huge empire.)
There is (literally) a cast of thousands. The movie is colorful, the battle scenes are graphic, and men, women, and horses all look great. The acting was excellent, especially that of Odnyam Odsuren as the young Ghenghis Khan, Tadanobu Asano as the grown man, and the beautiful Khulan Chuluun as Börte, his wife.
For political and/or esthetic reasons, Khan is portrayed as a man who brought the warring Mongolian tribes together, and as a lawgiver and just ruler. I don't have enough knowledge of the period to know whether the people of his empire would have taken this view. However, this is a movie, not a Ph.D. dissertation, so I accepted it as an action-filled and enjoyable--if not profound--film.
We saw this film at the excellent Rochester High Falls International Film Festival. Because of the sweeping nature of the battles, and the glorious shots of the landscape, this movie will lose a lot on DVD. Try to see it in a theater, preferably one with a large screen.
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