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Films 2015 - Mongolia - The Cave of the Yellow Dog

The Cave of the Yellow Dog

Director: Byambasuren Davaa, 2005

Language: Mongolian
93 minutes – Germany / Mongolia

A gentle fable about the limitations of life and acceptance. A girl learns the painful lesson of letting go of want when her father insists on leaving behind her newfound stray dog. However, the ending of the film offers hope—a lesson of life being full of changes—and how the consequences of change may bring unexpected rewards.

SYNOPSIS: The story opens with Nansal returning from boarding school to her family. The family of five lives in a yurt and lives off of their livestock. Nansal's father is worried about his family's survival because of the wolves that have been attacking their herd.

When Nansal stumbles across a cave in which she finds a black and white dog. She brings the dog home and names it "Zochor" (Spot). Her father is worried, knowing that wolves live in caves and may follow its scent and kill their livestock.

The father departs for town to sell the pelts of the sheep killed by wolves. He instructs his wife to get rid of the dog before he is home. Nansal is sent out to graze the herd, but she gets lost. The mother is distraught when the herd comes back without Nansal and goes looking for her.

Nansal finds refuge in the yurt of an elderly woman, where Nansal hears the story of the Cave of the Yellow Dog, in which a yellow dog is trapped in a cave with no exit by a man who seeks to cure his daughter's illness.

The mother finds Nansal. Zochor is still with the family when the father returns home. He tries to sell Zochor to some wolf hunters, but when Nansal tells them she found him in a cave, the deal falls through.

When family moves on, they pack their belongings onto carts. The three children are put onto the carts, with Nansal watching her younger brother. Zochor is tied to a stake so he cannot follow them. Nansal is distracted by Zochor and does not watch her brother, who escapes.

The family travels several miles until they realize that the boy is not with them. The father turns back immediately and finds his son rushing towards a flock of vultures. When the boy is right next to the flock, Zochor breaks free and scares them away, and the boy is rescued.

From then on, Zochor travels in the wagon with Nansal.

Awards: Mongolia's contender for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It won the 2006 Deutscher Filmpreis Award for Best Children's Picture.