Monday, June 30, 2008

The Fall & Mongol

This weekend I treated myself to the movies. I rarely go anymore because I rarely have a movie buddy. This is going to change. This summer will be dedicated to conquering the "lonely movie goer" phobia. Actually, seeing a movie in an arthouse theatre isn't so bad. Half the people there are alone. But for some reason I just can't muster the will to go to a mainstream theatre alone. I must conquer this fear over the summer.

This weekend, however, was all arthouse films. On Saturday I went to see The Fall by myself. Then on Sunday some friends joined me to see Mongol.

Both movies were fantastic! The Fall is a true art movie. It is centered around a wild story told to a little girl and seen through her imagination. Thus the colors and imagery is bold and fantastical. The actual story of the little girl and her storyteller is both sweet and tragic. There is some serious emotion near the end, although you know what is coming because the movie makes no attempt to hide the fact that their friendship is a tragic one from the very beginning. This is not a movie for everyone. Costumers will love it because it is colorful and innovative. Artists will love it because it is colorful and innovative. Storytellers and lovers of stories will love it because both stories are told very beautifully. A person who is not a fan of arthouse films may not quite enjoy it as at times it can seem more of an art piece than a movie. I really enjoyed all aspects of it. I even enjoyed the over the top performances by some as it was appropriate for a child's imagination. In all, I thought it was brilliant!

Mongol is a movie that will appeal to Many! I am still confused as to why it is only showing in arthouse theatres. Mongol was nominated for the foreign language Academy Award this year. Like Braveheart, it is a war story. Like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, it tells an epic story. It was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. The story was easy to become immersed in. I am hoping that it will have a strong showing in arthouse theatres and will then receive wide release so the rest of the world can see it. There are some interesting films coming out of Russia these days. I am actually quite interested in seeing how Russian cinema develops as we've not had so much exposure of Russian cinema over here in the U.S.

Mongol tells the story of the little boy, Temudgen, who became Genghis Khan from about age 10 to just when he begins taking over all of Mongolia. There is a huge undercurrent of love and loyalty running throughout the film. We are all led to respect Temudgen from the very beginning and that sets the tone for wondering What on Earth could have made this young man grow up to be the terror that we were all told about in our youth. The movie is a fantasy. There are historical elements, but as far as I can tell it never claims to be an historical account. But where it loses in accuracy, the story is so engaging that by the end you are compelled to read up on what Actually happened.

And then there's the added bonus of the amazing soundtrack. I've spent most of my morning listening to Mongolian folk music. It's very interesting stuff. And I think that this movie will usher in a surge of interest in the history of the Mongolian people and their culture. In my eyes, this is a very good thing. I know that when I was growing up, most of Mongolian history was glossed over. It will be nice to have a new reason to get ourselves and our children involved in a little known culture. I think so anyways.