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Öndög

Wang Quan’an returns with a witty, tender and visually bewitching tale of death, desire and camels on the plains of Mongolia.

Dir-Prod-Scr Wang Quan’an
With Dulamjav Enkhtaivan, Norovsambuu Batmunkh, Gangtemuer Arild
Mongolia
2019
100min
Sales Arclight Films
With English subtitles

When police arrive in a secluded Mongolian landscape to investigate a dead body, they call in a local herdswoman (Dulamjav Enkhtaivan) to shoot a marauding wolf. A gauche young male recruit (Norovsambuu Batmunkh) is left on guard, later joined by the herdswoman for a moment of intimacy, shielded from the wind by an obliging camel. This rich, tender study by Chinese filmmaker Wang Quan’an (2007 Berlin Golden Bear winner Tuya’s Marriage) offers wit, warmth and philosophical speculation, centred around the enigma of the öndög – a fossilised dinosaur egg. With its mesmerising landscape photography, rich base of ethnographic detail and memorably no-nonsense heroine, this idiosyncratic study is irresistible and constantly surprising – right down to its highly eccentric use of Elvis’ ‘Love Me Tender’.

Jonathan Romney

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