Yönden is the name of a young inhabitant of Mongolia who leads a nomadic life with his family following the herds of animals as they move across the vast taiga. Yönden is not a person confined to his own world as he is familiar with other countries and, when necessary, travels by plane and he has also participated in a film.
But the call of his land is irresistible. Yönden, with the daughter of an old herdsman acting as an interpreter, manages to become the assistant of a doctor who covers the vast distances, in which the nomads move, to treat those who have no access to medical care. During one of these journeys Yönden meets a nomad girl who will become his companion for life. He also helps his grandfather, in the lean years, to gather and store the fodder necessary for the winter.
This is a feature-length fiction film based on a true story and scrupulously recorded. The words are left to the characters, who never lack spontaneity though well aware of the presence of the camera.
Director de Poncheville says of the shooting of Yönden: "I always had the impression that Yönden was running away, he was clearly saying to me: "Look for what you came here to find. It can’t be me because I want to find my life on my own. I’ve managed to live without you up to now! Find yourself, find me if you really want to!" While filming I understood that the character of Yönden was always on the point of disappearing and this was creating a real tension, a questioning. It’s like life. Everything seems to fade away... always. We spend our time losing things and finding something else, in order to find the freedom to exist anew. That’s where my reality as a filmmaker found its raison d’être. I thought I was watching over Yönden... But in fact it was he who was watching over me.
Catalogo "Festival di Locarno"
MARIE JAOUL DE PONCHEVILLE