Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BBC - The Secret History of Genghis Khan

Stampeding horses, missing money and burning vodka - it’s all in a day’s work when you are shooting the life and times of Genghis Khan, writes Timewatch director Heinz Leger.

‘It’s all real and without cheap tricks,’ said Heinz Leger, director for the Austrian broadcaster ORF, who filmed the drama for ‘Timewatch: The Secret History of Genghis Khan’.

‘I avoided any of the computer animation that is so en vogue. Even in the mass scenes each horseman is flesh and blood. I was not so much concerned with the precise sequence of battles and conquests, but more with the personal development of the man, Genghis Khan.’

The programme is based on ‘The Secret History of the Mongols’, a manuscript written in the 13th century, some believe by the adopted son of the great Khan.

The Secret History of the Mongols, said to have been written by Genghis Khan’s adopted son, reveals a very different man to the brutal butcher of Western legend. Not just a womanizer, but a devoted husband. Not just a warrior, but a politician. Not just a conqueror, but a legislator. A man who wanted the lessons he had learned – good and bad - to be passed on to his successors. Within its pages lies the ‘inside story’ of how an illiterate nomad inspired his successors to conquer the largest land empire the world had ever seen.

This program tells the story of this equally famous, notorious and enigmatic figure from new perspectives, through the eyes of his own people, past and present, as well as those of his enemies. We watch how the conqueror’s rapid transformation into a shrewd statesman and ruler, turned a military machine into a political meritocracy. From his orphaned childhood in poverty to the valley of the Onon River to his secret burial we follow the life of Genghis Khan. It is an ancient story with a modern search for its traces.



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