chapter  5
20 Pages

A Standard of Socialist Cinema: The Clear River Tamir (Tungalag Tamir, 1970–1973)

In the early 1970s, the hundredth anniversary of Lenin’s birth in 1870 and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1921 Revolution were celebrated in Mongolia. This was a countrywide endeavour and a prime opportunity for the government to bolster the dissemination of socialist ideology. Meanwhile, by the early 1970s, an increasing proportion of the public had gained experience in film viewing in comparison to previous decades, so filmmakers began to use more sophisticated methods to get their message across. New films and their scores had to move away from one-dimensional characterisations and explicit propaganda to arouse fresh interest amongst audiences. The MPRP commissioned numerous novels, plays and documentary films in honour of the double celebration in addition to a threepart epic feature film The Clear River Tamir (Tungalag Tamir, 1970-73). The film was, in many ways, exemplary of the Film Factory’s output of the 1970s in terms of cinematic style, ideological content and soundtrack. It combined successfully the propagandist imagery of the 1960s whilst simultaneously acknowledging Mongolian folklore and looking ahead to the introspective stories that started to become popular from the mid-1970s. Similarly, the score comprised a variety of styles and genres that appealed across the broad spectrum of citizens of socialist Mongolia.