This docu-drama from Byambasuren Davaa follows on from the resounding success of her Oscar-nominated Story of the Weeping Camel (2003). If you loved that you’ll love this. The film tells of a Mongolian nomadic herding family, the Batchuluuns, living a traditional life as modernity encroaches. Nansel the eldest daughter brings home a stray dog. The father wants to send it away because of the danger of attracting wolves and harm to the livestock. Nansel has other ideas – will a young girls bond with a stray puppy in the Mongolian wilderness endanger the family herd?
We probably know the answer, but the story line serves another purpose as a vehicle for capturing a disappearing way of life fascinating in its difference and values. The Mongolian-born, German-trained directors grandmother was a nomadic herder, and Davaa’s affinity with the nomadic people allows her to dispel self-consciousness among the cast who play themselves in this narrative documentary. Its a simple story beautifully told against the wind-swept vastness of the Mongolian plains.
Breath-taking visuals and low-key charm. Tim Knight, Reel.com If the story seems whisper-thin (think Kes with a happy ending), then the devil is in the background detail. Mark Kermode, The Observer
Returning to the same blend of fiction and nonfiction that struck a chord with audiences of Camel, Davaa has made a sweetly meditative film that follows a young nomad couple and their three children through their daily lives The dog is cute but he’s no camel when it comes to performing. Kevin Crust, LA Times.