Dir: Byambasuren Davaa. Mon-Ger. 2005. 93mins.

After the extraordinary success of The Story Of The Weeping Camel, whichshe co-directed with her fellow Munich Film School student Luigi Falorni, Byambasuren Davaa returns to Mongolia for her second film The Cave Of The Yellow Dog, which hasbeen named the official Mongolian entry for the best foreign language filmAcademy Award.

Although it doesn't entrancein quite the same way as its predecessor, which presented a uniquely movingstory about a human family helping a family of camels, The Cave Of The Yellow Dog is neverthelessa lovely portrait of the simple nomadic life in Mongolia.

Borrowing the same techniqueof blending documentary and drama as in the first film, Davaaengaged a real nomadic family to play themselves in their own story. The resultis natural and illuminating, and should tap into the same audiences whichlapped up Weeping Camel and March Of ThePenguins, although the foreign language and foreign religious beliefs onshow will deter the more mainstream US audiences that fell in love with thelatter. There's no reassuring Morgan Freeman narration here.

Sales agent Telepool has sold the picture to a host of high profiledistributors, including ARP in France, Karma Films in Spain and Toshiba in Japan. The film opened in Germany through X-Verlieh inAugust after its world premiere at the Munich Film Festival and went on to gross over $1m at the box office.

It is assured a warmtheatrical reception with adventurous family audiences everywhere and has arich destiny in ancillary markets.

The film's focus is on sixyear-old Nansal, the oldest of three impossibly cutechildren in the Batchuluun family, a nomad clan wholive in a moveable camp in the barren plains of Mongolia.

One day she brings home asmall dog which she finds in a cave, but her father is furious because he fearsthe dog might attract wolves to the camp and ravage his flock of goats. Hedemands that she return it.

She defies her father'sorders and hides the dog, even getting lost one day in pursuit of it while herfather is on an overnight trip visiting the local town. But when the family upsand moves camp for the next season, the father ties the dog to a post so thathe won't come with them.

The dog, as it turns out,becomes a lifesaver when the family realises they have left behind their babyson.

The title refers to a legendtold to Nansal by an old woman she comes across whileseeking shelter which illustrates the Mongolian belief that every dog will bereincarnated in human form.

Davva's skill is in warmly depicting the details of thefamily's rural life without appearing educational, and sustaining the humanelements of the slim story so that it never becomes boring.

Life here is stripped downto an existence of survival and mutual support and western audiences will notonly appreciate the uncluttered nature of it all - the politics of the localtown, for example, are of no concern to the Batchuluuns- but find plenty to relate to in the family's interactions.

Production companies
Schesch Filmproduktion
Hochschule fur Fernsehenund Film Munchen (HFF)

Worldwide sales

Executive producer
Stephan Schesch

Byambasuren Davaa
inspired by a story by Gantuya Lhagva

Daniel Schoenauer

Sarah Clara Weber

Ganpurev Dagvan

Main cast
Batchuluun Urjindorj
Buyandulam Daramdadi Batchuluun
Nansal Batchuluun
Nansalmaa Batchuluun
Batbayar Batchuluun