Urga   1991   Mongolia, Soviet Union, France Close to Eden
Close to Eden Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Nikita Mikhalkov
Studio:Aria
Writer:Rustam Ibragimbekov, Nikita Mikhalkov
IMDb Rating:7.7 (1,897 votes)
Awards:Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations
Genre:Drama
Duration:119 min
Languages:Mongolian, Russian, Mandarin
IMDb:0103176
Search:NetflixYouTube
Nikita Mikhalkov  ...  (Director)
Rustam Ibragimbekov, Nikita Mikhalkov  ...  (Writer)
 
Badema  ...  Pagma
Bayaertu  ...  Gombo
Vladimir Gostyukhin  ...  Sergei
Babushka  ...  Grandma
Larisa Kuznetsova  ...  Marina
Jon Bochinski  ...  Stanislas
Yongyan Bao  ...  Bourma
Wurinile  ...  Bouin
Biao Wang  ...  Van Biao
Baoyinhexige  ...  Bayartou
Nikolai Voshchilin  ...  Nikolai
Jinsheng Bao  ...  
Vilen Kalyuta  ...  Cinematographer
Eduard Artemiev  ...  Composer
Comments: If you ever wanted to visit the steppes of Mongolia but were afraid to ask, this film will take you there. The gorgeous landscapes almost pale in comparison to the beauty of the sheperding family of four, plus grandma, who live in a tent there. Imagine watching a five year old kid help his dad gut a lamb for dinner and finding it moving and gentle rather than creepy and gross. I would have been happier if the film had remained a simple portrait of the family rather than involving a story about the onslaught of civilization. But that story *is* part and parcel of that family's portrait today. Some drunken Russian road builder dude brings some harsh to their mellow, and the film drifts out of focus a bit ... but I guess that's the point. The final shot sees a smokestack instead of an urga rising from the horizon.

Summary: Urga is a 1991 film by Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov. It is released in North America as "Close to Eden". It depicts the friendship between a Russian truck driver and a Mongolian shepherd in Inner Mongolia.

The Mongolian shepherd Gombo lives in a yurt in Inner Mongolia with his wife, three children, and mother. They are content with their uncomplicated rural lives but Gombo wants to go on having sex with his wife, while she refuses for fear of having a fourth child, which is against Chinese law. A Russian truck driver named Sergei is stranded nearby and finds his way to their yurt, where he and Gombo become friends despite their language and cultural differences. Gombo and Sergei go into the nearest city together, where Gombo is supposed to buy contraceptives (condoms). He buys a television set and other goods, but backs out of buying contraceptives after discovering that all the staff at the drugstore are women. Sergei, a former army bandsman, becomes drunk and sings "Hills of Manchuria" in a nightclub, with the band playing from sheet music tattooed on his back. He is arrested and bailed out of jail by Gombo.

Gombo returns home, and along the way stops to eat. He has a strange dream featuring his drunken, horse-riding relative as Genghis Khan and his wife as the Khan's wife.


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