Kristoffer Juel Poulsen & Christian Als: Daughter of Genghis

… Knud Brix took part in the creation of the film as did producer Andreas Dalsgaard, Elk Film. And many others…

Again it is beautifully demonstrated, how important Time is, when you do documentaries. This film is shot over a period of 8 years, 2015-2023. Things happen during these years for the protagonists Gerel Byamba and her son Temuulen, who is six years old, when we meet him. With a cliché: the camera loves the two and convey through many close-ups expressions – hate, love, sadness – of mother and son.

Gerel hates the Chinese, has formed her own feminist gang that has as its mission to fight prostitution and enter with violence brothels. She uses the swastika, wanting Mongolia to be for Mongolians only, the camera is with her and her gang at a couple of raids. Quite tough to look at.

Paradoxically, Gerel takes a job as security officer at a Chinese railroad project in the Gobi Desert. The son is left in the capital Ulaanbaatar with some family, misses his mother, who tried to get her father take care of the boy. In vain. Slowly the film tells its audience about her childhood, a mother who passed away, while Gerel was a child and a father, who was not present in her life.

The film provides in an excellent way the necessary information to its audience about Mongolia but where it really catches the attention and evokes emotions are in the scenes between mother and son. Especially after she comes back from the job, has saved enough to get a good flat for Temuulen and herself. It is amazing how natural these scenes are, chapeau to the filmmakers for getting that close and for creating poetic moments. The scene where Gerel opens up to tell her son about his father is second to none. It seems like the filmmakers started out to make a journalistic documentary about the nationalistic movement and the anti-chinese thinking, but – as the years went by – focused on mother and son and made that relation THE theme, outstandingly put in the foreground in what is a true creative documentary that took me by the heart,

A strong contender to awards at CPH:DOX.

Denmark and other countries, 2024, 86 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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