There is a good deal of drama in writer/director Byambasuren Davaa's (
The Story of the Weeping Camel
) simple narrative, little of it original in and of itself but all of it pithy and reflective of a set of real circumstances that these people, in this place, face everyday. The filmmakers use part of an actual nomadic Mongolian family in the movie (the child actors are all siblings), and, though the film is not a documentary, the use of the Batchuluun children, along with a particular focus on the everyday lives and events of nomadic Mongols — from the making of cheese to the disassembly of the Yurt (a sort of structured tent) — brings a profound trueness to every moment of
The Cave of the Yellow Dog. This authenticity holds true even when events are contrived for dramatic effect, as they are toward the end of the movie when one of the children is placed in some jeopardy. Along with the poignant and astute narrative, cinematographer Daniel Schonauer's rendering of the Mongolian landscape is breath-taking. It must also be noted that each of the Batchuluun children are extraordinary and that Nansal Batchuluun (both her real and her character's name) is among the most captivating creatures captured on film — ever.
Cast: Batchuluun Urjindorj, Buyandulam Daramdadi, Batchuluun, Nasalmaa Batchuluun and Batbayer Batchuluun
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Byambasuren Davaa
Genre: Family drama; Mongolian-language, subtitled
Rating: Not rated
Running time: 90 min.
Release date: November 10, 2006