Following on from the acclaimed (and Oscar-nominated) The Story Of The Weeping Camel, Byambasuren Davaa‘s new film The Cave Of The Yellow Dog retains the simple premise, quiet pace and flirtations with sentimentality. Following a nomad girl, Nansal, who finds a puppy hiding in the cave and petitions her parents to let her keep him, the film uses its setting to explore the challenges and decisions facing nomadic families in Mongolia as their lifestyle becomes harder to maintain, and parents have to prepare their children for a radically different future.
The film lacks the magical quality of its predecessor, but compensates with fascinating scenes of the family packing up their yurt and arranging their belongings for the seasonal migration. The languorous pace, and chance encounters in the Mongolian hills also added a sense of magic, particularly as we prepare to visit Mongolia this coming summer. That connection won’t help everyone, and some may well find it all a little too twee, but it’s a good way to relax and observe a significantly different culture and landscape.
(For those in Grand Rapids, The Cave Of The Yellow Dog is playing at UICA until Thursday 25th).