Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Belgian Peter Brosens and Mongolian Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh directed this Belgian-Dutch-Finnish-Danish-Mongolian co-production, winner of the Grand Prix at the 1998 Nyon Documentary Festival. A mystical travelogue concerning the life of a stray dog named Bassar, the film combines a Belgian documentary approach with the Mongolian fascination with fables. Some 12,000 stray dogs wander Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. Many of these unwanted strays are killed, and some are used for fertilizer. According to Mongolian belief, dogs are reincarnated as human beings, but when the stray Bassar is killed, he doesn't want to be become human. Looking back on his past life as a dog, Bassar recalls his days on the steppes with nomadic goat-herders, his arrival in the city minus a master, his attachment to a young woman, the changing seasons, and the traditional Mongolian ceremonies, costumes, and songs. Shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival and the 1998 Toronto Film Festival.