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Khadak

Contemporary nomads in Mongolia
By PEG ALOI  |  February 13, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
KHADAKINSIDE
Tsetsegee Byamba

Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth wrote and directed this portrayal of contemporary nomads in Mongolia. On their homestead in the wintry steppes, Bagi (Batzul Khayankhyarvaa) tends sheep with his mother and grandfather. Beset by visions of his ancestors in turmoil, Bagi is urged to embrace his shamanic gift. Government officials announce a livestock plague and evacuate the family, who reluctantly abandon their herds. Forced to work in a desolate mining town, Bagi winds up incarcerated for helping a young thief (Tsetsegee Byamba) and is befriended by other youths arrested for performing songs of uprising. His visions return, and that prompts an inspired act of rebellion. With its sparse, dreamy narrative, contrast of bucolic and industrial settings, and a haunting score, this film weaves a sobering spell, its rough-hewn resonance hard to shake off. Khadak is a brutal but redemptive story of an oppressed, disappearing pastoral culture. Mongolian | 104 minutes | MFA: February 15-17 + 20-21
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