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Genghis Khan. The terror from the Steppes. Cruel. Visceral. Magnificent. Chosen by fate. Shaped by misfortune. Driven by heaven to unite and conquer. History remembers few of such caliber, vision or courage, and it also, sometimes, fails to see beneath the robes of power the man himself – a son, an orphan, a husband and a father much loved by his own kin.
Fortunately, Sergei Bodrov does not. And while the Russian film maker’s interpretation may not sit well with cultures that once crumbled under the yolk of Mongol aggression and left behind a sinister portrait of the great warlord, his portrayal of Genghis growing up in an era beset with barbaric violence is as deeply stirring as it is breathtaking – extracting from viewers the highest exaltation for the great khan himself without having to beg or demand with any amount of persuasion.
Filmed in the rolling grasslands of Mongolia, China and parts of Kazakhstan, Sergei’s handcrafted spectacle strives to recreate the lives of the Mongolian tribes of the time (right down to their pastoral nomadic garb) and trace the journey of Genghis Khan from the time he was a young boy known as Timujin, imprisoned after the murder of his father by rival clans, to his battle for dominance with childhood friend, Jamukha. Chiseled with the hands of a seasoned story teller and polished with the imagination of a film maker, Mongol is the first of a planned trilogy, and a modern day classic history buffs would hate not to unsheathe.
Starring Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano as the adult Genghis Khan, Odnyam Odsuren as the child Genghis Khan, Mongolian actress Chuluuny Khulan as Borte, and Chinese actor Honglei Sun as Jamukha, the film was nominated and won several awards including the Academy Award for best foreign film and was originally released in the Mongolia and Mandarin language.
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