The legend of Genghis Khan comes to life in the festival's most lavish spectacle, an old-fashioned, giant-screen-filling epic that's both rip-roaring and romantic.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
The empire of Genghis Khan once covered one fifth of the earth's land mass. Director Sergei Bodrov (Prisoner of the Mountains) brings the legend to life in the Festival's most lavish spectacle, an old-fashioned, big screen-filling epic that's both rip-roaring and romantic. Intended as the first of a trilogy, Mongol takes us from childhood to the point where the young Khan has united the Mongol tribes.
"If you thought Genghis Khan was ready for a sympathetic, epic-scale biopic, you'd be - well, you'd be right, that's what. At the helm of this massive Russian-Kazakh-Mongolian co-production, director Bodrov doesn't exactly revolutionize the historical costume drama but does a bang-up job of covering the bases: a hero whose brutality is rooted in brutal circumstances, a semi-mystical treatment of pagan religion, an appealing love interest and numerous scenes of carnage and bloodshed, both large and small. Played as a boy by Odnyam Odsuren and then as a man by Japanese star Asano Tadanobu, the 12th-century illiterate Mongol chieftain's son named Temudgin who rose from most unlikely origins to conquer half of the known world (and who was notably generous to his underlings and conquered enemies alike) becomes a plausible human being." — Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
"Lavishly mounted and hugely entertaining... Cinematographers Sergey Trofimov and Rogier Stoffers are constantly attuned to the seasonally changing colours and textures of the central Asian landscape." — Michael Brooke, Sight & Sound
"Mongol makes vivid drama out of sparseness in the grandest of landscapes... It is just what an epic should be." — David D'Arcy, Screendaily