Our Bokh film premiers on NOWNESS today. This project has been a long time in the making in collaboration with Ken Hermann. We began planning it in 2015 and finally shot it this summer in the Grasslands of Inner Mongolia. When a boy is born in Inner Mongolia, his family pray for him to become a wrestler. This ancient tradition is the cornerstone of Mongolian culture dating back centuries to Genghis Khan’s reign, when he used it to keep his soldiers battle-ready. The film explores the lives of these young men and this important focus of their lives that governs status and respect in the community.
Mongolian wrestling feels like a dance. Opponents meet in the ring with hands outstretched, moving around each other until one of them takes the lead. They engage in long, dramatic grapples, which at times resemble intimate embraces. In an instant it’s over. One trip. One lift. One throw. And it’s done.