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.

 

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
August 2015
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
  • Why George Clooney Was the Perfect Messenger to Call for an Election Shake-Up
    George Clooney’s New York Times op-ed calling for President Biden to drop out of the election felt like something more than standard-issue celebrity activism for a few reasons. For the political class, it was not just an actor speaking, but a major Democratic Party donor and fundraiser — one whose insight on Biden’s age and […]
    Danvariety
  • Women’s Sports, Live Event Streaming and More Promise Spirited Discussions at Variety’s Sports and Entertainment Summit
    Streaming services are locked in a tightening battle to become go-to destinations for live sports coverage. Women’s sports increasingly rival men’s as a source for fiery debates and runaway ratings. Multi-platform sports commentators are becoming as famous as many of the athletes they cover. And while all eyes turn towards Paris for the start of […]
    Todd Gilchrist
  • The Smile Cancels European Tour After Jonny Greenwood ‘Emergency Hospital Treatment’
    The Smile has canceled its European tour as lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood recovers from an “infection that needed emergency hospital treatment,” the Radiohead offshoot band announced on social media Friday. “A few days ago, Jonny became seriously ill from an infection that needed emergency hospital treatment, some of it in intensive care. Mercifully he is […]
    Ethan Shanfeld
  • Alec Baldwin Files Surprise Motion to Dismiss Case Over Failure to Disclose Bullets
    SANTA FE, N.M. — Alec Baldwin’s lawyers have filed a surprise motion asking that his manslaughter case be thrown out because the state failed to turn over a batch of bullets to the defense. Attorney Luke Nikas argued that the failure was part of a broader pattern of disclosure violations by the prosecution, and said […]
    Gmaddaus
  • ‘Bosch’ Renee Ballard Spinoff Casts Courtney Taylor
    The “Bosch” spinoff about cold case detective Renee Ballard has added Courtney Taylor to its cast, Variety has learned. Taylor will star alongside previously announced series lead Maggie Q in the untitled series, which was picked up to series in November 2023. Like “Bosch,” the series will be based on the work of author Michael […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90