Genghis Khan might seem an unlikely hero for our times but he is currently enjoying a wave of popularity in the cinema, first with Sergei Bodrov’s Oscar nominated Mongol and now world renowned theatre director Andrey Borisov offers us another view of the man Time magazine named “Man of the Millennium.”
“Now is the time of globalization and Genghis Khan was the first globalist,” says Borisov, “he created an empire that united the nomad peoples of central Asia. Like all great heroes he is timeless. He still has a message for us today.”“By The Will Of Genghis Khan” is a $10 million historic biopic directed by Andrey Borisov and produced by Vladimir Ivanov together with a multinational group of collaborators. Both hail from Yakutia in Russia’s Far East and Borisov describes the film as an Asian movie about Asians-an inner view.The story of the film is told through the eyes of Brother John a wandering missionary. It traces the rise of the unknown nomad boy who becomes conqueror of half the known world. As the boy grows into a man he experiences friendship, love, betrayal, and war that shape him into the leader Genghis Khan. Throughout his life nature and spirituality guide Genghis as he unites the people under “One Everlasting Blue Sky.” It is this inner and spiritual view that sets the film apart from other stories of the nomad leader and gives it a universal theme that is valid today.The film was shot in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, China and Mongolia. Sweeping scenes of the seldom seen natural beauties of the Altai mountains, the Mongolian steppes, the unspoiled expanses of Yakutia and Lake Baikal give the film a grandeur and spirituality of its own.The tale of how the producers brought together the production sounds like an epic tale itself.The production which started life as the “Nomad Project” brought together the people’s of the central Asian mountains and steppes that are the descendants of the peoples that changed history when they swept west under the banner of Genghis Khan 800 years ago – Tuvinians, Buryats, Yakuts, Mongols, Altais, Khakas, Bashkirs, and many others.“The nomads who fought under Genghis Khan spoke 10 different languages but they all understood each other,” says Borisov, “we brought together people from all over central Asia but on the set we were all able to communicate.”Actors from China, Russia, Japan and the US play the leading roles including Chinese star Tu Men which should give the film box office traction in China but the film features massive battle scenes shot on the central Asian steppe. Thousands of local horsemen participated and the result according to Borisov is thrilling real-life action.“There are very few special effects in the film,” says Borisov, “I think audiences today are hungry for what is real.”During the filming professional stuntmen were brought in from the US and Japan but when they demonstrated the techniques used to make the action look real on the set the local horsemen just informed them that they could do the death-defying stunt tricks without the benefit of mats or stop action camera work. The locals also insisted on using real swords for the fight scenes.This is the directorial debut for Borisov who has worked in the theatre for more than 30 years and has won numerous awards for his world famous Shakha Drama Theatre. But he says his experience in theatre made it easy for him to work with the many actors in the film including the 13 different actors that played Genghis at different stages of his life.Borisov says, “Above all I want audiences to understand that Genghis has a message for us today. Genghis united many people from different cultures and religions under “One Everlasting Blue Sky” and inspired them to work together for a common goal. It was the rhythms of nature that shaped his life. The nomads worshiped a single God. Christ, Buddha and Mohammed were all the sons of this one God in their eyes. It is the God of nature, the God of the mountains and of the water. Lake Baikal, the largest fresh water lake in the world and that is today threatened by global warming, was and is sacred for the people of Siberia and Mongolia. I hope that my film will help people to understand that there is only one “Everlasting Blue Sky” uniting us today.”The film is scheduled for release in September 2008. A preview clip of “By The Will Of Genghis Khan“ will be screening in the Cannes market.
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