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Samurai Route

Movies about Mongolia that you have to see

For the curious who are not yet familiar with the culture of this remote country

Movies about Mongolia that you have to see
23 January 2010

Tuya's Wedding (Tu ya de hun shi)

  • Year: 2006
  • Length: 92 min.
  • Country: China
  • Director: Wang Quan'an
  • Screenplay: Wang Quan'an, Lu Wei
  • Photography: Lutz Reitemeier
  • Cast: Yu Nan, Ba Te Er, Sen Ge, Peng Hongxiang
  • Production company: Xi'an Motion-Picture
  • Official website: www.golem.es/labodadetuya
  • Awards: 2007, Berlin, Golden Bear for best film
  • Synopsis: In deepest rural Mongolia, Tuya (Yu Nan) is a young woman struggling to change her destiny, trying to support her crippled husband, her two children and her reb- Year of sheep. There is increasing pressure from the government for Mongolian herders to abandon their traditional nomadic lifestyle. Tuya is beautiful, strong and stubborn. She cares for her animals and her family in Inner Mongolia. She refuses to leave her pastures but the prolonged effort takes its toll and she falls ill. The only solution is to divorce Bater, and her husband, and remarry to move on. There is no shortage of suitors, but none wants to accept the condition Tuya imposes. She is not looking for someone rich, handsome or intelligent. She only asks him to take care of her children and, above all, her husband Bater...

The Mongol Dog (Die Hoehle des gelben Hundes)

  • Year: 2005
  • Length: 90 min.
  • Country: Germany
  • Director: Byambasuren Davaa
  • Script: Byambasuren Davaa
  • Photography: Daniel Schoenauer
  • Cast: Batchuluun Urjindorj, Buyandulam Daramdadi Batchuluun, Nansal Batchuluun, Nansalmaa Batchuluun, Batbayar Batchuluun
  • Production company: Schesch Film / HFF Munich
  • Synopsis: Nansal, the eldest daughter of a family of Mongolian nomads, comes across a cub one day while collecting firewood for her mother in a field near her home. From the first moment she becomes infatuated with the puppy but, when she brings it home, her father is afraid it will bring them bad luck, as he believes it may be descended from wolves, and asks her to get rid of it immediately...

Mongolian Ping-Pong (Lü cao di)

  • Year: 2005
  • Length: 102 min.
  • Country: China
  • Director: Hao Ning
  • Script: Hao Ning
  • Music: Wuhe
  • Cinematography: Jie Du
  • Cast: Hurichabilike, Dawa, Geliban, Badema, Yidexinnaribu...
  • Production company: Beijing Kunlun Xiongdi Prod
  • Synopsis: A white ping-pong ball floats down a stream until it is found by Bilgee, a Mongolian boy. His grandmother tells him it is a glowing pearl that has fallen from the sky. He believes the story and spends the whole night in the meadow with his two best friends: Ergotor, who can't ride a horse but can ride a motorcycle, and Dawaa, who is very small but never gives up. However, they don't get to see the longed-for glow of the ball and all they get is a beating from their parents when they return home. During the annual Nadam festival, the children mistake Bilgee's "glowing pearl" for the golf ball they see in a movie. The projectionist will get them out of the confusion and cause the children's disenchantment.

Urga, the land of love

  • Year: 1991
  • Length: 118 min.
  • Country: Russia
  • Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
  • Script: Nikita Mikhalkov
  • Music: Eduard Nikolay Artemiev
  • Cinematography: Vilen Kaliuta
  • Cast: Badema Bayaertu, Vladimir Gostukhin, Baoyinhexige, Larisa Kuznetsova
  • Production company: Coproduction Russia-France
  • Awards: 1992, Venice, Golden Lion. 1992, Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Synopsis: In the Mongolian steppe lives a family with a modest and rural lifestyle, until the arrival of a Russian ex-soldier will make evident the difference and cultural gap between both civilizations.


  • Year: 2007
  • Length: 126 min.
  • Country: Kazakhstan
  • Director: Sergei Bodrov
  • Screenplay: Arif Aliyev, Sergei Bodrov
  • Music: Tuomas Kantelinen
  • Cinematography: Rogier Stoffers, Sergei Trofimov
  • Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Aliya, Tegen Ao, Ying Bai,...
  • Production company: Co-production Kazakhstan-Russia-Germany-Germany-Mongolia
  • Official website: www.mongolmovie.com
  • Awards: 2008, National Board of Review, Best Foreign Language Film. 2007, Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Synopsis: Narrates the life of the legendary and fearsome Genghis Khan from his enslavement until he conquered half the world, including Russia in 1206. An epic blockbuster that was selected by Kazakhstan as an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

The story of the crying camel

  • Original title: Ingen Numsil - Die Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel
  • Year: 2003
  • Length: 93 min.
  • Country: Mongolia
  • Director: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
  • Script: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
  • Cast: Documentary
  • Production Company: Mongolia-Germany Coproduction
  • Synopsis: Fictionalized documentary about a family of Mongolian nomadic herders who are given an albino camel that their mother rejects.

The Hunter (Dersu Uzala)

  • Year: 1975
  • Length: 141 min.
  • Country: Soviet Union (USSR)
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa & Yuri Nagibin
  • Music: Isaac Schwartz
  • Cinematography: Asakadzu Nakai, Youri Gantoman,...
  • Cast: Maksim Munzuk, Yuri Solomin, Svetlana Danilchenko,...
  • Production company: Coproduction USSR-Japan; Mosfilm / Atelier 41
  • Awards: 1975, Oscar for best foreign film. 1975, Grand Prix at the Moscow International Film Festival. 1976, David de Donatello for best film of the year.
  • Synopsis: Captain Vladimir Arseniev and his detachment have to carry out geological surveys in the forests of the Siberian taiga. The immensity of the territory and the harshness of the climate cause the captain to be separated from his soldiers. Condemned to wander in the wilderness, Vladimir meets Dersu Uzala, a nomadic hunter, and inhabitant of the area, who knows the whole territory perfectly and knows how to control the inclement weather. Dersu will teach Vladimir to live in complete harmony with nature and to know how to respect it as much as possible so as not to disturb the existence of both. In turn, Vladimir will learn a lesson that he will hardly forget for the rest of his life.

Desert Dream - Hyazgar

  • Year: 2007
  • Length: 123 min.
  • Country: South Korea
  • Director: Zhang Lu
  • Screenplay: Zhang Lu
  • Cinematography: Kim Sung-tae
  • Cast: Bakchul, Bat-Ulzii, Osor Bat-Ulzii, Bayasgalan, Shin Dong-ho
  • Production company: Coproduction South Korea-France
  • Official Website: www.solaris-distribution.com
  • Synopsis: A small town in a desert region, not far from the border between Mongolia and China. Extr- Years are the inhabitants who still live there, among whom there is a farmer, a soldier or a woman who fled from North Korea. Most of them have left the city after having fought in vain for years against the desert, which is gaining more and more ground. The few natives who survive, do so by planting bushes in an increasingly arid land, under the direction of their chief, Hangai.

State of Dogs

  • Year: 1998
  • Length: 55 min / 91 min.
  • Country: Belgium / Mongolia
  • Director: Peter Brosens, Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh
  • Screenplay: Peter Brosens, Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh
  • Cast: Nyam Dagyrantz, Banzar Damchaa, Baatar Galsansukh,...
  • Production Company: Inti Films with Balthazar Film, Magic Hour Films,...
  • Awards: 18 - Awards including: "Grand Prix", Visions du Réel, Nyon,...
  • Synopsis: An astonishing blend of personal journey and social commentary. Beautiful and haunting, the film is structured by the memories of Basaar, a stray dog killed by a hunter in Ulan Bator. Mongolians believe that dogs are reincarnated as humans, but Basaar is reluctant to accept this fate. Basaar's story is intertwined with Mongolian myth and contemporary poetry, taking on the texture of a poetic fable. Watch the film on Google Videos

Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea

  • Year: 2007
  • Length: 136 min.
  • Country: Japan / Mongolia
  • Director: Shinichirō Sawai
  • Screenplay: Takehiro Nakajima, Shôichi Maruyama,...
  • Cast: Takashi Sorimachi, Rei Kikukawa, Mayumi Wakamura,...
  • Production Company: Minoru Ebihara, Haruki Kadokawa, Katsuhito Matsuura,...
  • Synopsis: A look at the life of Genghis Khan, from his birth to the conquests in Asia.

Kiran in Mongolia

  • Year: 2005
  • Length: 60 min.
  • Country: United States
  • Director: Jonathan Bland
  • Script: Jonathan Bland
  • Music: Anna Halldórsdóttir
  • Cinematography: Jonathan Bland
  • Cast: Documentary, Oral Esemgul, Kairatkan Sernedan, Kuma Uliksat
  • Production company: BULKFilms
  • Official Website: www.kiranovermongolia.com
  • Synopsis: Kuma, a young Kazak man, retraces the steps of his grandfather who was a former eagle-training captain in a remote mountainous region. There, in the far west of Mongolia, he fulfills his dream of capturing and training his eagle. Under the tutelage of a local master trainer named Khairatkhan, Kuma learns not only the ways of eagle hunting but also the customs of his people. The Kazakhs of Mongolia have been isolated from Western civilization for 70 years after the "Iron Curtain" of Soviet communism. Ironically, their culture is much better preserved than even that of the Kazakhs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The aim of 'Kiran on Mongolia' is to create a document on the Kazak culture of Mongolia, now that the country has opened up to the world since the fall of communism.


  • Year: 1992
  • Length: 501 min.
  • Country: Germany
  • Director: Ulrike Ottinger
  • Script: Ulrike Ottinger
  • Music: Andreas Mücke
  • Production Company: Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduction, Berlin,...
  • Official website: www.ulrikeottinger.com
  • Synopsis: A journey to the yak and reindeer nomads of the northern land of the Mongols.

Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia

  • Year: 1988
  • Length: 165 min.
  • Country: Germany
  • Director: Ulrike Ottinger
  • Script: Ulrike Ottinger
  • Main actors:Peter Kern, Irm Hermann, Christoph Eichhorn, Ines Sastre,...
  • Official website: www.ulrikeottinger.com
  • Synopsis: Ulrike Ottinger's epic adventure tells the story of a fantastic encounter between two different worlds. Seven Western women travelers find themselves aboard the sumptuous and meticulously reconstructed Trans-Siberian Express, a museum on wheels of European culture. Then they are ambushed by Mongolian horsemen, and the passengers are taken to the plains of Inner Mongolia on a fantastic camel ride through splendid scenery. Ottinger's film skillfully shows us the breathtaking views, the opulent customs of Princess Ulun Iga and her entourage, and the rituals of Mongolian life. A female version of Lawrence of Arabia, and just as radically romantic, Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia embarks on an unforgettable, adventure-filled journey.

A Mongolian tale (Hei jun ma)

  • Year: 1995
  • Length: 105 min.
  • Country: China
  • Director: Fei Xie
  • Script: Cheng-zhi Zhang
  • Cast: Dalarsurong, Bayirtcya, Renhua Na,...
  • Synopsis: Bayinbulag and Somiya are raised from a young age as brother and sister with their adoptive grandmother. The three of them live happily in a hut on the Mongolian steppes. Just before Bayinbulag left town, having trained as a veterinarian, Grandma and Bayinbulag suggest that Somiya should finally get married. Bayinbulag, now training to be a musician, goes for long periods of time without communicating with Somiya. In the end, he returns and hopes to marry her.

All my love

  • Year: 2007
  • Length: 90 min.
  • Country: USA, Germany, Mongolia
  • Director: Brian Short
  • Script: Brian Short
  • Main actors:Tania Kupczek
  • Synopsis: At a time when most independent filmmakers are vying for space at Sundance or in Hollywood's "indie cinema," it's refreshing to see a film that caters exclusively to the mysteries of artistic expression. With "All My Love," local filmmaker and composer Brian Short has created an audiovisual experience that will surprise some and leave others confused, but bravely worthy of its first Best Film award in 2007, the Northwest Sightings Film Forum, a local film festival.

Destination Gobi

  • Year: 1953
  • Length: 90 min.
  • Country: USA
  • Director: Robert Wise
  • Screenplay: Everett Freeman, Edmund G. Love
  • Cast: Richard Widmark, Don Taylor, Max Showalter,...
  • Synopsis: A group of U.S. Navy weathermen goes to take action in the Gobi Desert, in World War II and are forced to seek the help of Mongolian nomads to recover their ship, while the attack of the Japanese air force happens. The Mongols are rewarded by an airlift with the best saddles.

The great match

  • Year: 2006
  • Length: 88 min.
  • Country: Spain / Germany
  • Director: Gerardo Olivares
  • Script: Gerardo Olivares, Chema Rodríguez
  • Main actors: Shag Humar Khan, Abu Aldanish, Zeinolda Igaza,...
  • Synopsis: This film tells the adventure story of three heroes, none of whom I have met, but who nevertheless have two things in common: firstly, they all live in the farthest of remote corners of the planet and, secondly, they are all three determined to watch the 2002 World Cup final between Germany and Brazil on television in Japan. The protagonists of this "world comedy" are a family of Mongolian nomads, a caravan of Tuareg camels in the Sahara, and a group of Indians in the Amazon. They all live more than 500 kilometers from the nearest town - and the nearest television - making their task particularly daunting. However, these people possess the inventiveness and ingenuity of willpower to achieve their goals.

Khadak (Color of Water)

  • Year: 2007
  • Length: 104 min.
  • Country: Belgium / Germany / Netherlands
  • Director: Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth
  • Script: Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth
  • Cast: Batzul Khayankhyarvaa, Tsetsegee Byamba, Banzar Damchaa,...
  • Synopsis: Magical realism, epilepsy, and the Mongolian steppes. A pilot dies. His son Bagi, who, like his father, has epilepsy, grows up in the steppe, raising sheep, subject to adjustments. A plague among the animals forces the family to leave their land and they go to a city where Bagi gets a job as a miner. His attacks become more frequent and he begins to have visions in this wasteland of mining, factories and rubble. He meets a group of art students after saving the life of one of them. As the crisis deepens with his people - the sheepless shepherds - BAGI uses the visions to seek direction. Will he save his people, and can love be found?

Mujaan (The Craftsman)

  • Year: 2005
  • Country: USA
  • Director: Christopher McKee
  • Main actors:Altangerel, Sukhbaatar
  • Web: www.mujaan.com
  • Synopsis: In the distant steppes of Mongolia, using simple tools, strength and ingenuity, a nomad builds a house the way his ancestors did for the last thousand years. Mujaan (The Artisan) is a vivid window into a way of disappearing from life in one of the most remote corners of the world.

My Beautiful Jinjiimaa

  • Year: 2006
  • Country: Mongolia
  • Length: 88 min.
  • Director: Ochir Mashbat
  • Main actors:Natsagdorj Battsetseg, Purevdorj Tserendagva,...
  • Synopsis: Ochir Mashbat reveals the sublime beauty and grace lurking beneath the surface of another normal way of life with this moving story of a woman who is raped, and the enduring friendship that helps her overcome her trauma can have catastrophic consequences. Jinjimaa is a deaf woman living in rural Mongolia. When Jinjimaa is raped by the local party chairman, she shoots her assailant dead. In the wake of Jinjimaa's lifelong shooting friend, a farmer named lame Sukhee, takes responsibility...


  • Year: 2007
  • Country: Japan
  • Length: 110 min.
  • Director: Kazuya Yamada
  • Synopsis: In the context of a magnificent but heavy natural landscape, a Japanese photojournalist meets Puujee, a young woman who tames wild horses in the steppes of Mongolia. I can't find this film anywhere to buy or download.
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