Khan conquered more territory than Alexander the Great and often topped “Man of
the Millennium” polls. If you doubt his lasting influence on today’s world, go
ask a Mongolian about it. It turns out, he was even the first man to set foot
on the moon, but he has some rather magical-mystical help in Kerry Yang’s short
film Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 Philip K. Dick Film Festival in New York.
the twilight of his life, the great Khan had little left to conquer (just
little pieces of China, here and there that would be left to his grandson,
Kublai). Yet, he hears reports of a defiant alchemist, so he makes haste to
assert his authority. Although outwardly subservient, the alchemist does not
seem to be kowtowing on the inside. In fact, he knows what the great Khan needs
and where he can find. That would either be a new world ripe for conquest or
tranquility, a whole sea of it, in fact.
cool is it to see veteran Asian American actors Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and James
Hong as co-leads in a film? Granted, neither is Mongolian, but so be it. Tagawa
has all the right grit for the great Khan and Hong is as slyly charismatic as
ever as the cerebral alchemist. Frankly, the film is far more spiritual and
symbolic than typical genre films, which makes it pleasantly ambitious.
the warmongering depiction of the Millennial Man is not entirely fair. After
all, he abolished torture, established religious freedom and cut taxes on
doctors, teachers, and clergy in the lands that fell under his control (at
least according to the Rubin Museum and they ought to know).
Regardless, Yang and cinematographers Noah
Kistler and Guan Xi compose some absolutely arresting images. Somehow they take
us past the fantastical into the realm of the hyper-real. It is lovely to look
at and quite a strange (in a welcome way) addition to the growing Genghis Khan
film canon. (Keep in mind, Tagawa has now joined John Wayne in the elite
company of actors who have played Temujin.) Recommended for those who
appreciate science fiction with a mystical flavor, Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon screens as part of a short film
block this Friday (1/15) at the Cinema Village, during this year’s Philip
K. Dick Film Festival.
Labels: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Genghis Khan, James Hong, Philip K. Dick '16, Short Films