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Rated NR · 2006
Director Byambasuren Davaa's follow-up to The Story of the Weeping Camel takes a classic tale of girl meets dog and sets it in the filmmaker's native Mongolia, where it becomes an allegory of social change. The stunning, remote valleys where six-year-old Nansaa moves around with her sheep-herding, yurt-dwelling family are increasingly depopulated, as people abandon the nomadic way of life for jobs in the city. "Only stray dogs are left," a roving hunter comments to her father. Enter Zochor (Mongolian for "Spot"), a wild puppy she finds in a cave. Her father says he may be part wolf, while thinking, This dog is like me, a leftover, and I can't stand it. At times the film's Buddhist lessons feel a bit forced, but the naturalistic performances Davaa has coaxed from a real-life Mongolian family, and her intimate understanding of their culture and values, give this sensitive portrayal of the mingling of tradition and modernization its heft.


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