Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Bagi and his grandparents live a nomadic life herding sheep in the frozen hills of Mongolia. Their pristine world is disrupted when a military convoy arrives, letting Bagi's family and others know that a plague has struck the animals in their region and they must relocate to a mining town, complete with high-rise apartments.

In their first fiction film, documentary filmmakers Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens apply a distinctly impressionistic style to an original story with haunting themes. Capitalism is expanding into the most remote of regions and creates ongoing tensions between the past and the future, creation and destruction, and accepting or denying one's fate.

Featuring remarkably meditative performances by Batzul Khayankhyarvaa as Bagi and Tserendarizav Dashnyam as the shamaness, Khadak starkly contrasts the richness of nomadic Mongolian life against the imposed modern city life that Bagi and his family must adjust to. But in the midst of that stark transition, Bagi begins to accept his fate and starts traveling between the natural world and a larger spirit world, as he was meant to.

In its filmic eloquence, Khadak is itself raw material for a potential personal experience and a reminder of the harsh laws of the universe that many of us seem to forget.

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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