Mongolian Horsewomen

A really long time back, a group of us, mostly horsewomen would go to the Fountain Theater in Old Mesilla, New Mexico. It is an old, funky and sweet theater where we could buy wine and snacks, even meals while we sat in the rows of seats or at cafe’ tables. One week I saw an ad for the upcoming film: “Joan of Arc de Mongolia”, described as a film about Mongolian horsewomen. CRIKEY! I got everyone to buy tickets and we landed there en masse. I was excited. I had horse friends with even their husbands and boyfriends gathered to watch. And then the film started…..

It was a German film. It lasted over 4 hours (I’m pretty sure that’s right, it seemed like 8 hours). It was mostly, for 2 of those hours, about people on a train…. an eclectic group of characters… on a “train” with a rotating cylinder outside the “window” to create the sense of movement – the same painted trees going by over and over… I was so motion sick! And they actually had an apple I could buy. It saved me.

At one point there was a “scene” outside the window when the “train” was supposed to be in a station – there was a horse walking by. One of my friends groaned and said she hoped that wasn’t the horsewoman scene. I figured it was and tried to figure out how to just disappear.

The movie moved along and somehow the train got to outer Mongolia… women from the train ended up with Mongolian women, outside, riding horses wildly and (UGH!) slaughtering sheep. I shudder for so many reasons when I think of that night. My friends were kind. They just gave me odd looks and hurried to their cars and trucks down the very dark streets at the very late hour. We did not speak of it for a long time.

Tonight, I think of it as a kind of bonding ritual. Those of us who saw it began talking about it and those who had not seen it starting acting as if they had! Soon, it was a badge of courage to have endured and we held each other in great admiration… after enough time had passed and the irony/humour could be savored. I thought of it tonight while thinking about those dear friends.

I asked a friend of mine a while back where she would choose to live if she could choose anywhere in the world – and she has lived all over the world and visited everywhere. Her reply was, “Where my friends are”. AWESOME answer. She lives here. She was one of us who courageously and without complaint sat through the entire film, “Joan of Arc de Mongolia”.


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