Genghis Blues Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 11, 2007
This documentary was hugely half-assed.

OK, it had a few nice moments... and now I know where Tuva is.

Academy Award nominee!! Get OUT!
August 10, 2007
Blind San Francisco Bluesman travels to Tuva (near Mongolia) to compete in international throatsinging competition. Exposes you to an entire culture you had no idea existed.
½ May 3, 2014
It's unfortunate that the only two highlighted reviews here on RT are from ignorant assholes with zero empathy. It's one of the most heart-felt documentaries I've ever seen. I question the authenticity of those who apparently have never experienced sadness and true joy.
December 9, 2013
Genghis Blues es un documental de dos mundos que jamás debieron encontrarse. El de un músico ciego americano, cantante de blues, que en tardes de ocio descubre una de las mayores manifestaciones artísticas humanas. Se trata de la música proveniente de la pequeña Tuva, una region al sur de Rusia, cerca de Mongolia, donde con el poder de la voz construyen una serie de sonidos que nada envidian a instrumentos occidentales. Desde entonces, Pena buscará conocer la cultura, y tendrá el viaje de su vida. Recomendable.
March 20, 2013
A low budget production, but an interesting story about a blind blues singer from San Francisco who teaches himself the almost inhuman sounding techniques of Tuvan throat singing, and which takes him on a very unlikely journey. Immensely human. Worth watching.
February 4, 2013
One of the most unique docs out there
August 12, 2011
Watching right now-such a cool tradition !
½ May 15, 2006
I really like Ryan Reynolds and that makes me feel so dirty. But seriously, he's great for deadpan laughs, he reminds me of Chevy Chase and Bill Murray though not quite as good as either. In any case, he took [b]Blade Trinity[/b] which like the rest of the blade movies always tend to be way to euro trashy and took a little of the seriousness out of it and made it a little more watchable. It's just an action flick with vampires after all, so they really don't need to take themselves that seriously. All in all a fun flick to catch round Halloween, more then just the typical horror faire. Nothing great, just fight scenes with bullets, swords and vampires.

So I'm finally trying to get around to watching all of Francis Ford Coppola's movies, and hopefully soon I'll be getting to
Stanley Kubricks. As part of this, I snagged [b]Apocalypse Now[/b] via the ol netflix connection. It's an absolutely crazy movie, and you can never ever predict what will end up happening next. The ending was amazing, and it's one of the most beautifully shot movies I've ever seen. It's hard to watch in some respects but at the same time I feel like I could watch it all the time. I don't really know what to say other then it's necessary for anyone and everyone to watch.

Now way back when, I think it must've been in the paper, but I read about a documentary called [b]Ghenghis Blues[/b], and I rember it supposedly being a great movie. I never actually even remembered entirely what it was about other then that the title sounded cool. But years and years later, I've finally seen it and it's just an absolutely amazing movies. It gives amazing insight into music, and culture and the world as a whole and is a great portrait of a lost blind blues musician who found a calling in a musical form over halfway around the globe from his home. It never gets slow and is always enlightening.
½ March 30, 2006
[size=5]A[/size][size=4] fascinating and inspiring documentary,[/size] [i]Genghis Blues[/i] is the story of blues musician Paul Pena and his musical pilgrimage to the Republic of Tuva, in 1995. Pena is a career musician (writer of the Steve Miller song "Big Old Jet Airliner") who has worked with the greats of Blues, from Muddy Waters and B.B. King to Bonnie Raitt. Listening to a short-wave radio, Pena encountered Tuvan throatsinging and was instantly obsessed. He taught himself the technique, which involves one voice simultaneously making two harmonic tones. He also translated Tuvan songs and written word into Russian, then into English (no Tuvan-English dictionaries existed) and all in Braille, so he could learn the language.
The film is a documentary on Pena's trip to Tuva, to participate in a contest of Tuvan throatsinging. I'll leave you in the dark as to whether he wins or loses. The thing that you'll come away from this film with is a major win: the beauty of two entirely strange cultures, joined by music. Pena's appreciation for the people he encounters is inspiring as well, and the reception he recieves is truly gratifying to watch. But the thing that struck me was that the Tuvan culture, nearly squelched by years of Soviet oppression, survived and was so valued by a blind blues musician from half a world away, and discovered by chance..... and the result is this shining combination of people.

This film is a beautiful and joyous experience, and so much more than a travelogue. It's about how music can unite people whose lives are vastly different.
February 5, 2006
Sick with the flu so I'm going through some DVDs.
Fun with Dick and Jane[/b] - It's good to see Jim Carrey doing a mindless, carefree comedy again. It's not a particularly good movie, but there are still still enough chuckles here for a mildly entertaining evening. I saw this a while back.

[b]Genghis Blues[/b] - Met one of the directors at Sundance who handed me a copy. Turns out he lives in the bay area too. It's a pretty interesting documentary about a blind blues musician who learned the Mongolian art of throat singing from listening to faint signals on the radio. During a concert in the US, he eventually met the Mongolian national champion of throat singing, who was impressed by his skill and invites the American to go to Mongolia to participate in one of their competitions. This was nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary category in 1999.

[b]Kinsey [/b]- The nature of the subject matter automatically makes this a curious movie.

[b]The Russian Specialist[/b] - Dolph Lundgren wrote and directed this so I was curious. Wasn't really paying attention to it, but it didn't make an impression.

[b]15 [/b]- It's kinda bizarre so you can't help, but watch until the very end.
February 17, 2004
[size=3]One of the great advantages of documentaries is that what the audience is watching gains a certain resonance by our knowledge that, even though it may be slightly manipulated, what we are watching is true. The old saying "truth is stranger than fiction" certainly came to mind when watching [i]Genghis Blues[/i], a documentary that tells the remarkable story of a man with such a passion for music that he was willing to travel to a remote country on the other side of the world. The film focuses on Paul Pena, a blind San Francisco bluesman who hears a unique and haunting type of singing known as "throat singing" on a shortwave radio and resolves to learn the technique. He discovers that the singing is from a tiny republic called Tuva (which I must admit I had never heard of but is located between Mongolia and Siberia), and eventually masters the style of singing. Remarkably, a Tuvan band comes to San Francisco, and when Paul demonstrates his skills to them backstage, they are amazed and invite him to Tuva. [i]Genghis Blues [/i]is a wonderful, uplifting movie that is not only about the man's passion, but also the wonderful experiences he has in Tuva. Paul is lucky enough to meet a Tuvan named Kongar-ol Ondor, and the documentary shows how the two are able to form a deep bond based on their shared love of throat singing. The movie is inspiring in its message of breaking down social boundaries and sharing experiences...after all, who would believe that a blind American and an elderly Tuvan would ever meet? [i]Genghis Blues [/i]demonstrates that music is the universal language, and we can communicate with anyone on the fundamental level of sound and pitch (Spielberg had a similar message in his movie [i]Close Encounters of the Third Kind[/i]). The film is also rather touching, since Paul clearly uses his joy of singing as a means of escape from his grief over his recently deceased wife. As with all documentaries that succeed, [i]Genghis Blues [/i]never expressly states its themes. It merely tells a remarkable story with a minimum of style to enhance it, and allows us to be moved and inspired by the adventures of an odd but loveable group of people who devote themselves to a little-known art.[/size]
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