The Cave of the Yellow Dog

Release date:November 10, 2006
(NY; LA release: November 17)

Studio:Tartan Films

Director:Byambasuren Davaa

MPAA Rating:G


Starring:Batchuluun Urjindorj, Buyandulam Daramdadi Batchuluun, Nansalmaa Batchuluun, Batbayer Batchuluun

Genre:Drama, Documentary, Family

Official website:

Plot Summary:

Director Byambasuren Davaa once again enchants us with a story set in her native Mongolia. This time, she brings us into the rapidly disappearing world of a modern day nomadic family struggling to continue their traditional way of life (living off the land). Mongolian folklore and the eternal cycle of reincarnation figure into this tale about a 6-year-old girl - just back from attending school in the city, who finds a dog and takes it home to her family. But her father worries it may have been running with wolves (as many abandoned dogs do when their owners move to the city) and will attack their herd of sheep. The family is divided over whether or not to keep the dog. Davaa's attention to detail - depictions of the family at work - taking down their yurt (tent-like house) to move on, making cheese, collecting dung to cure their meat (and to play with) and even sewing clothing (deel) for the children - will fascinate. At first, Western audiences may gasp when 6-year-old Nansal is sent off alone on a horse to graze the herd, but then it becomes evident that these children are taught survival skills from the time they can walk, so that they can help sustain the family. Davaa uses a real nomadic Mongolian family, consisting of a mother, a father and three lively children to tell her story of what may well be, the last generation to grow up in this rural environment. Davaa says that with this film she wanted to "show a life beyond linear and material values." The film is subtitled in English.