Monday, July 21, 2008

Mongol, A Movie To See

In July 2005, I read and reviewed on this blog Jack Weatherford's wonderful book, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

Jack Weatherford outlines Khan's amazing life story and rise from outcast/orphaned Mongol nomad to ruler of the world's largest ever empire. The book serves as a major rehabilitation of Khan's legacy and transforms the traditional view of Genghis Khan from brutal tyrant to transformative ruler who spread the rise of free trade, religious freedom, science, standards, paper currency, postal services and communications, and national identities in lieu of tribalism, religious persecution, and autarky.

Khan's genius lies in his ability to transcend his circumstances and envision completely novel means of organizing armies, ruling empires, and structuring society (merit vs hereditary and tribal). An Indian friend of mine and admirer of Khan's describes him as being "self-born," a force in history with no precedent and a man of ideas and achievement completely non-linear to his context and roots. I really love that concept.

Now, Sergei Bodrov brings us his brilliant epic, Mongol. The move brings to life the steppes, the man, and the incredible rise from obscurity that marked Khan's early life. It is a movie to get lost in and one that you wish would keep going. The good news....Mongol is the first of three and I cannot wait for the sequel.

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