Release Date: November 10th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center) by Tartan Films.
The Cast: Nansal Batchuluun, Buyandulam Daramdadi, Urjindorj Batchuluun, Nansalamaa Batchuluun, Babbayar Batchuluun, Teserenpuntsag Ish.
Directed by Byambasuren Davaa.
In Mongolian with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Nansal (Nansal Batuluun), a 6-year-old girl who is part of a nomadic Mongolian family, adopts a puppy she finds in a cave, against the wishes of her mother and father (Buyandulam Daramdadi and Urjindorj Batchuluun).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Cave of the Yellow Dog lacks both character development and plot development, but doesn’t have enough to compensate for those deficiencies. Nansal’s family, which includes her younger sister, brother and parents, live in a Mongolian yurt—a tent covered with animal skins. The film includes many simple scenes of their nomadic activities without a musical score. Her father believes that her newfound black-and-white puppy, Zochor, might pose as a threat to his herd by attracting wolves, so Nansal becomes disheartened. Will he finally give in to her desire to keep the dog? Writer/director Byambasuren Davaa doesn’t give you enough of a reason to care about the answer to that question. Unlike, his last film, The Story of the Weeping Camel, where there was some suspense whether or not the titular camel would finally nurture its colt, this one lacks any real suspense. It’s mildly amusing to watch the scenes when Nansal plays with her cute puppy, Zochor, which spends much of its time sleeping. Also, there’s an interesting segment when an old lady (Teserenpuntsag Ish) explains to Nansal the fable of the cave of the yellow dog, which at least explains the title. Much of the film, however, moves at a sluggish pace that feels rather sleep-inducing despite the picturesque scenery. Even at a running time of 93 minutes, The Cave of the Yellow Dog overstays its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than acknowledging the simple, slow-paced life of Mongolian nomads.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Too slow-paced and not enough suspense.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 12
IN A NUTSHELL: Picturesque scenery, but low on plot and character development along with a painfully sluggish pace.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "C" Menu