Passion, near and far

Tonight, I saw what is, as far as I can remember, the first Mongolian film I've ever seen : Passion (2010), by fellow International Writing Program participant Byamba Sakhya. It was at once about Mongolia and about  art in the world, and also about politics and archives and history and why creative types of people do the things they do.

As you watch the film, you sink into what I imagine (though I might be mistaken) is a state of mind that is nurtured by the sway of the steppes and the lull of the big sky (and despite having seen Nebraska as part of the programme last week, I did not truly think of the sky being so impossibly big until I saw Passion tonight). What I mean is: time slows, breathing eases, the story rolls on but at its own unhurried pace, one that is far from frenzied modernity and the madding crowd.

I said to another writer afterwards that the Mongolia of the film --- which Byamba said looks very "natural" to him, the landscape he's known all his life --- looks very alien to me (and then I had to whip out Darren Soh's photographs on my phone, to show her the Singapore landscape I've known all my life). But in a good way. You sink into it, and also the story it tells, and it feels like it could keep going for eternity, just like the Mongolian horizon seems to.

The film trailer is on YouTube, but you really have to see movie on some kind of big screen to appreciate the scale --- great and small --- of its story.

I really want to drive across Mongolia now.



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