The Soviet Union has made a great contribution to the rise and development of the Mongolian cinematography. Even though, there were ideological issues portrayed in movies made during the socialist system, subjects such as customs and humanity were addressed more frequently.
Scenes and conversations in those movies were not artificial; well-planned, meaningful conversations, combined with powerful compositions from famous composers all created a wonderful warm feeling inside you. Maybe that’s why every time you watch those movies you get filled with new feelings and new emotions. You never get tired of watching them again and again.
The works of writers during those times were reviewed and criticized profusely. This on top of research-based artistic trends had a great influence on the quality of those films. In my opinion, the real works of art are created when the main purpose of the film making is something other than money. I think that the feature film named “Moving towards you” is one of the films that had made a clear mark on the history of the Mongolian cinema industry as clearly portraying the human nature as well as culture in the 1970’s.
I would like to describe the film scenes from my view even though I am not a film analyst. Snow storm… [Compared to livestock farming, except fencing and shelter, weather plays a very important role for the pastoral livestock because herdsmen regularly move their livestock to feed on pastures]. One of the main characters, Tseren comes in after checking his fenced livestock. During a conversation with his wife he mentions that he saw some sheep which had gone downwind. Although he recognized whose sheep those were, he did not make an effort to catch them. His wife expresses her dissatisfaction with his selfishness.
At that moment, the owner of the sheep, Darisuren, steps into their ger to get warmed up and asks about his sheep. Tseren lied about not seeing any sheep, but his daughter got surprised and said “Daddy, you have just said that you saw some sheep passing by”. His wife gets ashamed of her husband’s actions and says that telling a lie is worse than stealing. Tseren is an ordinary herdsmen brushing up on forty, an occasional drinker who is keen to have a son to carry his family name.
At the meeting held in the center of the soum (county)… [Meetings and consultations were regularly arranged in connection with the activities to merge the livestock of households as well as equally sharing the benefits of their livestock under the name of “cooperative”] Tseren is criticized for being selfish and not protected Darisuren`s sheep from getting lost in the storm. The head of the cooperative tells Tseren that “It is good to keep changing the pasture for our livestock” and in this statement I think we can see the author’s main idea that “We are the nation of nomadic civilization”.
The role of veterinarian is a supporting role. The role is significant in that sense that it has been purposefully placed against the role of Darisansuren to remind Mongolian young generation of traditional customs. In the middle of the movie, the veterinarian comes up to the old man Janchiv, who is manually processing the cow hide and says “Well, are you processing the cow hide?” Janchiv replies “Don’t you know how to greet people?” Janchiv says to his daughter “This veterinarian is an unethical and naughty young man. He doesn’t even know how to greet people properly”. He further explains “Mongolian people greet one another with wishes of success in one’s endeavor whenever meeting someone who is doing some work. We should not forget our customs”.
During those times, even so much as today, young generation of herdsmen were attracted to urban areas. Herdsmen had no choice as to follow their children to the urban areas because they lacked helpers to herd their livestock. Darisuren, barely 20 years old, although well-educated, he had returned to his native land to become a herdsman and help his mother. One of the biggest desires of the rural youth at that time was to own a motorcycle. Darisuren comes to Tseren`s home to show off his new motorcycle and finds Tseren was drunk and his wife was in labor. He goes to the soum center to bring the midwife doctor. Unfortunately, he has an accident on the way and dies. Motorcycle is becoming a technical mean to replace horses, which were the main transport of the nomads for many centuries. Later on, a thought came to my mind that maybe the motorcycle represented our invaluable customs and traditions as being lost.
There is a scene at the end of the movie which maybe intended to confirm the above theory. Tseren saddles a horse and sets his newborn son and says, “Mongolian men grow up on horseback. I will let my son ride our brown race horse when he grows up”. In my opinion, this scene was not added randomly, the author main point was to highlight that Mongolians should not forget their tradition and culture.
At the funeral of late Darisuren the crowd leaves after paying their respects. The ger is empty; his mother is left all alone. The director added the sound of a weeping camel to this scene to skillfully and artistically showcase the emptiness of a lone mother. Why did the director deprive the mother of her son? Even though, it is the way of life where one goes and another comes, this particular event lead Tseren, who was blaming himself for what happened, make an important decision at the end of the movie. Perhaps the directors another intention was to let the audience brood over life and death.
When the neighbor of Dulam (late Darisuren`s mother), Khandmaa visits her, Dulam confides that she wants to ask to adopt Tseren`s newborn son. Khandmaa, who understood Dulam`s pain, bumps into Tseren`s wife Jargal on her way home from the soum center and tells her upfront about Dulam’s wishes to adopt her son.
After having heard the shocking news from Khandmaa, Jargal was anxious and dreading the day when Dulam will come asking to adopt her son. When Dulam finally visits, although fearful that she will take her son away from her, Jargal offers Dulam a cup of tea. She then goes to her son and hugs him tightly, expressing that she cannot give her son. Dulam understood her feelings and could not open her mouth. The actress who played Dulam skillfully expressed those feeling by her look and expressions.
After this event, Jargal says to her husband Tseren, “Let`s give our son to Dulam whose son was lost because of us. I feel pity on her because I am a mother like her”. Tseren got angry and says he will never give his son to her. Jargal tells her husband, “If your mind is short, your happiness would be less. Be a real man”.
Tseren goes to his trader friend’s house to get his mind of things and have a drink with him. Fed up with his friend`s inhumanity and greedy character, Tseren said some harsh words, which led to a fight between two friends. The director’s subtle hint at the difference between western and oriental cultures was artistically portrayed by the differences in they way that these couples interacted with each other. Tseren’s friend’s wife’s reaction to the fight by slapping her husband and her husband’s counter reaction is compared to Tseren’s wife Jargal’s smart action to educate her husband with wise words and Tseren’s reaction, showing his affection and understanding by smoothing his wife’s hair with much love and compassion.
… While looking through binoculars from the top of a small hill searching for his camels, Tseren sees the late Darisuren`s mother Dulam. He feels pity for her, he understands his fault in this situation, and feels guilty and ashamed of his character towards her. He understands that his wife felt bad and wanted to share her pain and suffering. However, he could not part with his only son that he waited 10 years to have. It seems the author wanted to show the connection between human and nature by Tseren`s camels repeatedly goingt by Dulam`s ger. Nevertheless, it made Tseren to make an important decision. The head of the family’s decision to move and join Dulam`s household with his family was portrayed with a simple phrase “Let’s move tomorrow.”
When Dulam sees a herding family moving somewhere, she goes to offer them tea, while trying to guess whose family that was. When she realizes that it is Tseren’s family and they are moving to join her, she gets very emotional and kneels down. At this moment, the famous music by a well-known Mongolian composer was added to the action. This emotional music expresses the lonely mother’s emotions, hope, love and deep emotions of one soul longing for another.
Does the beautiful culture in which people offer tea and rest to anyone who is moving still exist in rural areas? Now where do we move and to become whom? I felt that the author tried to express that our origin is nomadic and to remind us that our traditions and customs are inseparably linked to the nomadic culture.