DOK Leipzig 28 October – 3 November 2019
62nd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Taming the Horse

Taming the Horse

30-year-old Dong is lying on the bed, smoking and wondering: “What can I do to be a valuable member of society? Should I get up? No, I won’t.” When director Tao Gu, who hasn’t seen his old friend in ten years, meets him again in 2011, he meets a man crushed by personal defeat and the latest turbo developments of Chinese society. A man living in student digs who, with his leather jacket, lovesickness, guitar and alcohol, has come to epitomise the antithesis of the dictatorial career ethos. Dong spends his days dreaming and living out his emotional outbreaks in a social environment programmed for reticence.

This sensitive portrait doesn’t show a deliberate dropout but a man whose failure is due to self-doubt and the capitalist “freedom’s” pressure to succeed, who despite his youth is already cleverly sidestepped by a next generation boldly juggling with the logics of the market economy. The protagonist and the filmmaker set out by train to Dong’s home in Inner Mongolia. This train journey of several days runs like a thread through the film as it revels in Dong’s dream of taming horses in the endless steppe and enjoying a peaceful life with a simple Mongolian girl. The young man breaks off the journey.

André Eckardt


Original Title: Xun Ma
Country: Canada, China
Year: 2017
Language: Chinese
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 124 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Tao Gu
Producer: Aonan Yang, Xun Yu, Tao Gu
Cinematographer: Xun Yu
Editor: Tao Gu
Sound: Catherine Van Der Donckt

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.