This is a very interesting film about one young man’s journey through modern-day Mongolia. Chinbayar is only 20 years old, but his father in particular relies on him to ward off the ill effects of his profession as a gold miner in the remote hills of his country.
In Mongolia the belief is that digging precious metals out of the earth upsets the gods and nature spirits, and they need to be appeased so that catastrophe doesn’t fall upon the family.
Chinbayar, together with his mother, go on a long journey through the country, stopping first at Shambala, a sacred space in the middle of the country where he is greeted by Buddhist monks.
Then on to Oyu Tolgoi, which houses one of the largest mines in the world (larger than Manhattan, and 2 miles deep), which is upsetting not only the gods, but the herdsmen who live in this area who can no longer get the water they need.
He comes back via the capital Ulaanbaatar where half the population lives, and where there is an emerging middle class in the centre of the city, and a much larger ghetto class living in poverty on the edges, without water or electricity.
His last trip is to meet with a famed shaman in northern Mongolia who urges him to convert his father to a more wholesome occupation, such as growing crops or herding cattle.
In this film we see the changing landscape of Mongolia and the different challenges they face as some profit, and many lose their livelihood and, in many ways more important, their connection to the land.
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