Sex and the City

Starring Tadanou Asano. Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Running Time: 120 mins
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (strong battle violence)

The official Kazakhistan entry for the 2007 Oscars for Best Foreign Language films and, in fact, one of the five finalists.

This is the story of Genghis Khan's early years. It is a sweeping drama, filmed on location in Mongolia and China with a Japanese actor as Temudjin who became the khan, and a Chinese actor as his friend, then enemy, Jurmukha. The rest of the cast is Mongolian. However, to show international co-operation, director Sergei Bodrov is Russian.

This film opens with the boy Temudjin, aged nine, going to pick his wife. Encountering a little girl just a bit older than he, he chooses her for his wife instead of a wife from a rival tribe. Almost immediately his father is poisoned but the boy is not because of a code that vengeance is wreaked only on adults. Temudjin escapes capture though he will experience being taken twice more before the film is over. In the next capture, he is able to go free and his strong-minded wife stays behind so that he can escape. This means an expedition to rescue her with the help of his friend and blood brother, Jumurkha. But Temudjin's battle skills and his dividing spoils equally amongst his men leads to a clash with Jumurkah, a further grand battle (Braveheart style) and his being captured again and enslaved by Jumurkah.

The climax of the film is his confrontation with Jumurkah and defeating him with an enormous army (suddenly, and from where?) and his being ready to conquer the world. This film is said to be the first in a trilogy about Genghis Khan.

The location photography is quite spectacular. The effects for the battles provide for immense attacks and fights. Khan himself emerges as a just leader according to his lights, devoted to his wife who is a good adviser to him. Historians may consider that he is presented in too favourable a light. However, he has been played in the past on screen by John Wayne (The Conqueror) and Omar Shariff (Genghis Khan). This one seems a bit more authentic!

Hopscotch Out June 19

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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