Desert Dream

Far from the urban setting of his previous audience favorite Grain in Ear (SFIAAFF '06), Zhang Lu sets his newest film on the Mongolian steppes, where the winds of change are quickly erasing all signs of traditional existence. With Sisyphean stubbornness, Hungai (Osor Bat-Ulzii) dedicates himself to a dream of transforming the encroaching desert into a forest. His vision quest leaves him blind to his own ailing daughter's plight, compelling his wife to take her to the capital for treatment. However, his solitude is short-lived, as two North Korean refugees, Soonhee (the beguiling Suh Jung, of Kim Ki-duk's The Isle) and her son, cross his path. Desert Dream begins in a documentary-like style, immersing us in the everyday rhythms of a frontier existence; gradually, subtle wisps of magic realism begin to circulate around the characters, as well as hints of an even crueler and more dangerous world that lies beyond the dunes.

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