Mongolian-set “Ondog,” directed by China’s Wang Quan’an, is to be represented in international markets by Los Angeles- and Sydney-based Arclight Films. The film will have its world premiere in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.
The story launches with events reminiscent of a thriller, when a young policeman is sent to investigate the murder of a woman found naked on the Mongolian steppe. But it descends into something more existential and art house.
As they weather the bitter overnight cold, the cop impregnates the tough, local woman who is set as his minder. But it is not clear whether it was an alcohol-fuelled accident or something more intentional. The film title means “egg” in the Mongolian language.
“Ondog” was previously pitched simply as ‘A Mongolian film by Wang Quan’an,” and it was made without a formal script. “What I saw in Mongolia stretched far beyond the scope of language. Once in the Beijing editing room, I understood this was a film about life, death, and love. I experienced a Mongolian sense of time. And life, death, and love were not as I perceived before,” says Wang.
Wang has been a Berlin regular, winning the Golden Bear in 2007 with “Tuya’s Marriage” and the festival’s 2010 opening film “Apart, Together.” In 2017 he returned as member of Berlin’s main competition jury.