After recently finishing Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan”, a NYT best seller and one of the best historical/fictions I have read in some time, I sat through Sergei Bodrov’s “Mongol” film.
Recommended by a southern california icon, an arbiter of historical reading material, a Mr. Thomas Catanese, I picked up the novel and sat for a spell. The book took on historical facts and wove a story line filling in the gaps where historical “information” faltered. With years of chinese then soviet oppression an attempt by both regimes to bury the notion of a strong Mongol nation….Jack’s team of historians attempted to walk the steppes and reconstruct his life. The film loosely followed the time-line and documentation from the book, but added the traditional hollywood flair (with hints of idyllic settings, dream-like recreations of Genghis’ chats with The Eternal Blue Sky deities, etc).
Tadanobu Asano in the movie “Mongol” was absolutely brilliant. He was able to portray a god-like historical figure, a military genius, a man filled with suffering while also providing a human face as he went to great lengths to find his missing wife Borte and bring a ravaged steppe people together under one rule.This Oscar nominated film is the first in a trilogy spanning the life of the great Genghis.
As Geoffrey Chaucer once penned: “This noble king was called Genghis King, Who in his time was of so great renown, That there was nowhere in no region, So excellent a lord in all things.”
With many of western europe’s scientific and cultural advancements resulting from trade with Khan’s empire in the east, we owe a bit to his conquering of the known world during his reign in the 1200s. From Korea to Hungary, his lightening fast armies were studied by Hitler and Stalin for tactical superiority on the battelfield. His was the last great tribal empire of world history. He influenced Jawaharlal Nehru, the father of Indian independence as he sat in jail. He wrote about the great leader to his daughter Indira, influencing an entire sub-continent and their quest for independence.