July 1, 2008

"'Mongol' might as well be called 'Braveheart in a Yurt.'"

Ha ha. So writes Michael Phillips. That's what I thought: This is like "Braveheart," right down to the deep, minimalistic love story.

There's a lot in this war movie — the coming of age of Genghis Khan — that women can love. Beautifully photographed landscapes. Fabulous fashion. (Those hats!) Horses galore. Feisty kids. Manly men who sing in that amazing overtone voice. Beautiful women who make the first move, stand their ground, and accomplish daring feats. Lovers separated and united. Bondage. (Do you know what a cangue is?) Tribal customs from the 12th century. Lots of eating and drinking. (Meat carved off the bone and eaten from a knife and endless bowls of (occasionally poisoned) liquid). Also a lot of knives, arrows, and blood.

"Mongol" should count as a law movie too. Temudgin (Genghis Khan) comes up with the big idea: "Mongols need laws." And that related idea: "I will make them obey, even if I have to kill half of them." He also happens to say: "Mongols have the right to choose."

Here's Stanley Kauffmann:
... Immediately we think of... John Ford's The Searchers ...

Other reminders of Ford abound, as well as reminders of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia... Olivier's Henry V and Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky must also be tucked away in [the director Sergei] Bodrov's head...

25 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

Did ..."his greatest pleasure in life was making war, defeating enemies, forcing ". . . their beloved [to] weep, riding on their horses, embracing their wives and daughters"
make into the dialogue?

Ann Althouse said...

Genghis Khan was a very sympathetic good guy.

Bob said...

Did you know that John Wayne played Genghis Khan in the movie The Conqeror, and that many in the cast died of cancer because it was filmed in locations in Utah that had been used for testing A-bombs?

Bissage said...

I have meditated on how Genghis Khan was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast.

It tasked like Yak milk.

Yum!

George said...

Bob speak truth to you, Alt of Housewoman....

Hear word of Genghis 'Duke' Temujin and bow down:

Bortai: For me, there is no peace while you live, Mongol.
Temujin: You're beautiful in your wrath.

Temujin: I stole you. I will keep you. Before the sun sets you will come willingly to my arms.

Temujin: She is a woman - much woman. Should her perfidy be less than that of other women?

Temujin: While I live, while my blood burns hot, your daughter is not safe in her tent.

chuck b. said...

(Although I won't) I would go see Mongol before I would see Braveheart simply because I presume it doesn't have any Hollywood actors in it. Unlike Braveheart, which stars Mad Max.

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bissage said...

Genghis Khan’s military success was directly attributable to the phasers beamed down to the planet’s surface by the Starship Enterprise in exchange for topeline.

It's true!

(In practice, the prime directive seems to have been something more like a flexible guideline. Hey, nobody's perfect.)

Chip Ahoy said...

(Do you know what a cangue is?)

I knew what it was but I didn't know it was called that.

I kept coming across this image. while searching for pictures to Photoshop a Mongolian BBQ"

(This was the most maddening post to make. I ordered a new keyboard for Macbook Pro and I intend to install it myself. How's that for daring, eh?)

The Drill SGT said...

The Mongols' conquest, even by their own standards, was relatively brutal.

one great line from Wiki says it all

LarsPorsena said...

"It appears that Genghis Khan left a mark on more than history: His influence may persist in the DNA of men today. According to an international team of geneticists, about 1 in 12 men in Asia--and therefore 1 in 200 men worldwide--carry a form of the Y chromosome that originated in Mongolia nearly 1,000 years ago. Today's unusual prevalence of this chromosomal variant is most likely the result of Genghis Khan's military success, the investigators say. Even more provocatively, the researchers suggest that Genghis Khan himself had this particular version of the Y."

Gheghis CouldgititOn

Bissage said...

In accordance with the ancient law and the ways of our people, I do hereby make claim to the right of the mulligan:

I have meditated on how Genghis Khan was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast.

It tasted like Yak milk.

Yum!

Bissage said...

Sheesh!

bearbee said...

Here is John Wayne's stirring performance as Genghis Khan.

'I greet you my mother'

Ron said...

Here is John Wayne's stirring performance as Genghis Khan.

'I greet you my mother'


But is it as good as Tony Curtis' "Yanda lies da castle of my fodda!"?

I think not!


A Mongolian 527 group would be how many arrows would hit you if you disagreed with the Mighty Khan!

Plus, don't forget their awesome postal system!

Ron said...

Wasn't William Yurt in the Mongolian version of Body Heat?

blake said...

Ouch, Ron.

My review. Genghis: The Wonder Years.

This is supposed to be the first in a trilogy of Temujin films. It was actually fairly light on battle, since it stops right at the point GK unifies the Mongols.

I have to confess, I've never seen a movie about a heroic leader whose woman used sex with other men to help him out. Didn't Bravehart hinge on defiance of that? (Setting aside that "first night" was a symbolic thing.)

Ron said...

The Mongolian women they have a song of lamentation for when the warriors leave them cooped up while they ride all day tenderizing the meat under their saddles:


You only yurt
The one you love,
The one you shouldn't yurt at all.

Ron said...

BTW, saying this film is like The Searchers or something from Lean is like saying Lean's Brief Encounter is like Sid and Nancy! Silly!

blake said...

I have to admit that I didn't once think of The Searchers in watching this, though there was some unconscious association later, I think due to the wide shots of the desolate steppes.

The cinematography, in other words, evokes Winton Hoch's work, though curiously Wayne's Ethan Edwards is a lot more driven than Temujin. (!)

It has a rather low budget feel to it, though. I can't recall a Lean film that felt low budget....

Ron said...

Wayne's Ethan Edwards is a lot more driven than Temujin

Driven? More like psycho! If DePalma wants to redo a movie, he should stay away from Hitchcock, and reshoot The Searchers!

Craig Landon said...

If you ever ask a guy if he'd rather have been Genghis Khan and he says "No" or "Who's that?": nominate him for Secretary of HHS, be friends with his sister(s), have the occasional lunch, take him to the concert or ballet, but never say "Oh yeah? Bet you can't do this!".

Jason said...

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!111!!!!11!!!!

blake said...

Hey, that's what I said!