Vsevolod Pudovkin's classic Soviet revolutionary film, shot on original locations in Mongolia, depicts the people soaring in the struggle against British colonialists. Starting with ethnographic footage of the daily lives and rituals of Mongols, the film shows how a young Mongol, a supposed descendant of Genghis Khan, is used as a puppet by the British intervention troops; in furious montage sequences with staccato-like rhythms, he finally leads his people to revolt against the suppressors.
With STORM OVER ASIA Pudovkin rose to the height of his career in some sequences, whilst in others he lost the thread of his theme by interest in local environment. It opened with a series of landscape shots of distant hills, of small round huts, of great storm clouds; and from the distance the spectator was taken nearer by approaching shots. The whole of the first part up to the visit to the lamaserei was magnificent. As is well known, Pudovkin prefers, whenever possible, to work with raw material, building it in terms of filmic representation to achieve his desired result. Consequently he has filled his picture with the most remarkable types of many nationalities. STORM OVER ASIA, for example, in its scenes of the fur market and the festival of the lamas brought material to the screen that had never before been photographed. The types were as amazing as those of the peasants in Eisensteins THE GENERAL LINE. Pudovkin has been very successful in his results with these naturalistic methods till now, and I believe that working on similar lines he will achieve even greater success. I am convinced that his principles of filmic construction, at once scientific, rhythmically structural, philosophic, and analytical, are those calculated to achieve the most powerful results.
Paul Rotha: The Film Till Now, New York 1949