State of Dogs
BELGIUM, MONGOLIA / 1998 / Mongolian/ Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 91 min

Director, Script: Peter Brosens, Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh
Photography: Heikki Farm, Sakhya Byamba
Editing: Octavio Iturbe
Music: Charo Calvo
Sound: Risto Iissalo, Dan van Bever
Narration: Maria von Heland
Peter Brosens
Production Company: Inti Films
Source: Jane Balfour Films Ltd.
Burghley House, 35 Fortess Road, London NW5 1AQ UK
Phone:44-171-267-5392 / Fax:44-171-267-4241

Peter Brosens

Born in 1962 in Belgium. Has worked in Ecuador as a cultural anthropologist. Made his first video documentaries there. Went to Mongolia in 1993 to produce news reports on the nation's first free elections and wound up making City of the Steppes (1993) which won the Prix Joris Ivens at Cinéma du Réel, Paris in 1994.

Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh

Born in 1959 in Ulan Bator. Popular journalist and editor, and for several years program director at Mongolian television. His television magazine Tobch Toli was one of the most popular programs on Mongolian television. Wrote and produced the 1992 feature film Tears of Lama.

Baasar, a stray dog, is shot dead by a dog - hunter on a back alley of Ulan Bator. Although in Mongolia it is common knowledge that when a dog dies it is reincarnated as a human, Baasar has lost his trust in humankind, and sees little to be gained from this turn in his fate. In response, Baasar's spirit embarks on a journey across his own memory - his happy memories as a sheep dog, his anguish at being abandoned by his masters, his struggle for existence as a stray in the city. Just then, the mythical dragon Rah, having swallowed the sun, begins to sharpen his fangs to rain down confusion and destruction upon the earth.
The idea for this allegory of a dog that doesn't want to become human all began when director Peter Brosens made his first trip to Mongolia in 1993 and was shocked by the number of stray dogs - both living and dead - he encountered. An estimated 120,000 stray dogs roam the streets of Ulan Bator, a city of 800,000 people. In order to prevent the spread of diseases from the dogs to humans, authorities there have used high pay to recruit dog hunters. But for reasons you can imagine, it is the dog - hunters, more than the dogs themselves, that are hated by the city's population.
[Fukushima Yukio]

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee