Newcomer Tergel Bold-Erdene won best actor in Venice's Horizons section for his turn as a teenage shaman in the feature debut of acclaimed shorts director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.
The young people of Mongolia are caught between centuries of tradition and the demands of the modern world in City of Wind, the new film and first full-length feature from award-winning shorts director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (Snow in September, Mountain Cat).
The film, which premiered in Venice and is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows the relationship between Ze, a 17-year-old, gentle Mongolian shaman and Maralaa, a young woman who takes him outside his world into the, for him, alien urban world of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city.
First-timer Tergel Bold-Erdene, who plays Ze, won the best actor honor for the Venice Horizons sidebar for his performance. In an exclusive first trailer of the film (see below), viewers follow Ze as he moves between the ancient spiritual traditions of his homeland and the barrage of the modern world. Nomin-Erdene Ariunbyamba plays Maralaa. Tsend-Ayush Nyamsuren, Ganzorig Tsetsgee and Bulgan Chuluunbat co-star. The idea for the film came to Purev-Ochir after taking part in a traditional shamanic ritual.
“I was waiting outside in the apartment after the ritual and a young man, younger than me, came out — with full sleeve tattoos on both arms, a shiny earring — and he took out his phone and he started playing a video,” Purev-Ochir recalls. “And this was the shaman! I immediately saw the first images of the film, the story of a shaman peeling off his mask to reveal this young man behind the elderly spirit.”
After its triumphant Venice debut, City of Wind arrives in Toronto, where, last year, Purev-Ochir’s Snow in September took the top prize for best film at TIFF’s short cuts awards.