Posts Tagged ‘Shawn Dou’

Taming Mongolia

Wolf Totem

wolf_totem

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Cast: Shaofeng Feng, Shawn Dou, Yin Zhusheng, Ankkhnyam Ragchaa

Acclaimed French director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Lover, Seven Years in Tibet) returns with an extraordinary and powerful film Wolf Totem set in Mongolia at the start of the Cultural Revolution in China. Wolf Totem had its South African premiere at the 36th Durban International Film Festival DIFF.

Set on the Mongolian steppes where untamed wolves run wild, the story focuses on a young student Chen Zhen from Beijing who is sent there to indoctrinate the local tribesman about the benefits of communism. Instead Chen Zen encounters a harsh, hostile environment where the Mongolian tribes live at one with nature and dare not upset the delicate harmony between man and beast.

However, this relationship especially between man and wolf is further complicated by the interference of the local Chinese leader who is enforcing Communist ways on an essentially nomadic existence of the Mongolians, who respect the environment and the delicate ecosystem in which man and nature survive together in this harsh landscape.

Visually spectacular and brilliantly filmed, Wolf Totem is a powerful film about the dangers of interfering with an ancient civilization which has lived for centuries with the knowledge that man and beast must mutually respect each other’s power. When this respect is forcefully compromised, the wolves retaliate and so do the tribesman in a battle of man against beast which will leave many viewers that cannot tolerate animal cruelty shielding their eyes.

In terms of Visual Anthropology, Wolf Totem is essential viewing and a powerful indictment on the dangers of man interfering with an already delicate ecosystem and that despite their ability to reason, sometimes man cannot always tame or extinguish wild animals, such as the rampant Mongolian wolves.

Instead, the wolves should be respected, even the wolf cub which Chen Zen tries to tame, should ultimately be allowed to roam free in their natural habitat. Warning that Wolf Totem is not recommended for viewers that are sensitive to scenes of animal cruelty.

Wolf Totem is a fascinating tale of how a Beijing man, Chen Zen becomes accustomed to the existence of a fast vanishing nomadic tribe: the Mongolians, which is ultimately threatened by a stringent political system which is intent on crushing all signs of individualism and natural harmony.

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  
  • BBC Outlines Plan to Become ‘The Best Place for Women to Work’
    The BBC has appointed its Scotland boss, Donalda MacKinnon, to lead a program it said aims to “sweep away any barriers to women progressing, fulfilling their ambitions and reaching the top.” The U.K. pubcaster is under fire after publishing talent pay figures that revealed a startling gap between the earnings of its top male and […]
    Stewart Clarke
  • Universal Music Chairman Lucian Grainge to Be Honored by Songwriters Hall of Fame (EXCLUSIVE)
    Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the 2018 recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award at the organization’s annual induction ceremony in New York on June 14. Inductees at this year’s event include Bill Anderson, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” […]
    Jem Aswad
  • Mary J. Blige, Common, Sufjan Stevens, More to Perform at Academy Awards
    Gael García Bernal, Mary J. Blige, Andra Day, Natalia Lafourcade, Miguel, Keala Settle, Sufjan Stevens and Common will perform this year’s nominated songs at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced today. “We’re excited to have these talented artists showcase the powerful contribution music makes to filmmaking,” De Luca […]
    Jem Aswad
  • David Mamet Says He Wrote a Play About Harvey Weinstein
    David Mamet said he has written a play about Harvey Weinstein. Mamet mentioned the new script in an interview in the Chicago Tribune. The new work is called “Bitter Wheat,” and there’s a Chicago stage veteran, who’s now in films, interested in starring in it, according to the article. No exact production plans or timeline […]
    Gordon Cox
  • Stephen Fry Reveals Battle with Cancer in Online Video
    Stephen Fry has told fans about his battle with prostate cancer in a video posted to his website, Friday. The video from the actor, comedian, and several times BAFTA Awards presenter, opens with the title “A Message from Stephen Fry,” before the star recounts how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently had surgery. […]
    Stewart Clarke