Films Set in Mongolia & Inner Mongolia

These are examples of some of the films set in the independent republic of Mongolia since the 1920s or in the ‘autonomous prefecture’ of Inner Mongolia within the PRC since the late 1940s. Most were produced by studios within Mongolia or Inner Mongolia. The early films set in Mongolia were produced with Russian or Soviet support, and most mainstream films and dramas from Inner Mongolia have been made within the Chinese state system of film production.

Mongolia was a part of the Qing empire until the collapse of the dynasty in 1911, when it declared independence under the leadership of the Jebtsundampa Khutuktu (1870-1924), the highest lama in the country. After victory by socialist forces, the country was renamed as the Mongolian People’s Republic (MPR) in 1924 and came under extensive influence from the Soviet Union. This led to the closure of all monasteries and, in the mid-1930s, under orders from Stalin, the mass execution of thousands of lamas and intellectuals. In 1945, the MPR achieved formal recognition from China and from the western powers. In 1990, the socialist state was replaced by a democratic system. The first cinema was opened in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, in 1925, showing Soviet films, until the MPR established its own film studio, Mongol Kino, in 1935. It produced 52 feature films over the next thirty five years.

Inner Mongolia remained part of China after the fall of the Qing empire. The eastern areas were affected by the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in the 1930s, which led to the establishment of the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo. In 1947, following the defeat of the Japanese, the Communist Party took over the Inner Mongolian areas and declared it an autonomous region under their control, and it became part of the People’s Republic in 1949. A film studio was established in Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region (IMAR), in 1958, but it was used mostly for dubbing Chinese-language films until 1979. Since then it has produced a number of feature films, some with Mongolian themes, including Tian Zhuangzhuang’s On the Hunting Ground (Lie chang zhasa, 1984) and at least three films about the life of Genghis Khan.

Tsogt Taij (1945)

Tsogt Taij was the eleventh full-length feature film produced by Mongol Kino, the national film studio in Ulaanbaatar. It was regarded as important, even in the socialist era, for its emphasis on the overriding importance for Mongolians of maintaining national unity.
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The People on the Grassland (1953)

The People on the Grassland, one of the earliest “minority nationality films” produced in the PRC, is a story of heroic Mongolian herders who ally with CCP cadres in the early 1950s and expose KMT spies and agents who are seeking to destroy the new socialist society.
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Heroic Little Sisters of the Grassland (1965)

The most famous of the animation films made by the Shanghai Film Studios, Heroic Little Sisters of the Grassland is a story from the mid-1960s of two young Mongolian girls who risk death rather than let down the commune and miss the chance to serve Chairman Mao and the socialist cause.
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Queen Mandukhai (1989)

One of the best known of historical films made in Mongolia, Queen Mandukhai is an historical epic about a famous Mongolian Queen who sacrificed her life and happiness in the effort to maintain Mongolia as a united kingdom in the late fifteenth century.
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Gada Meilin (1993)

The Chinese film director Fei Xiaoning made the feature film Gada Meilin (嘎达梅林) in 1993, a celebration of a Mongolian peasants who die fighting against feudal oppression and Japanese imperialism in the 1930s.
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A Mongolian Tale 黑骏马 (1995)

Xie Fei's first film set in Mongolia tells the story of two childhood sweethearts as they grow up together on the Mongolian steppes.
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Genghis Khan 成吉思汗 (2004)

The life of Genghis Khan as told in a 30-part television drama series produced by CCTV and directed by Wang Wenjie.
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