North American Premiere
Zoljargal Purevdash’s lively feature made a splash at this year’s Cannes, where it screened in the Un Certain Regard program and announced the arrival of a refreshing new voice in world cinema. Set in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, If Only I Could Hibernate tells a story of perseverance and courage. Batsooj Uurtsaikh plays Ulzii, a teen with a gift for physics who is encouraged to enter a national competition. The payoff for victory is sweet: a full-ride university scholarship and, eventually, the chance for Ulzii to lift his family out of crushing poverty.
Handsomely shot in ’Scope, Purevdash’s film unfolds in the classroom, the ice-cold outdoors, and the lateral confines of the family yurt. As usual for teen-centred films, the home is a place of bitter struggle; once Ulzii’s alcoholic mother (Ganchimeg Sandagdordorj) departs, that struggle is for basic subsistence. Amid the scramble for coal, medicine, and food, the protagonist has to master physics— a tall order indeed, but it makes for richly compelling cinema.
Battsooj Uurtsaikh, Nominjiguur Tsend, Tuguldur Batsaikhan, Batmandakh Batchuluun, Ganchimeg Sandagdorj
In Mongolian with English subtitles
Frédéric Corvez, Maéva Savinien, Zoljargal Purevdash
Zoljargal Purevdash is a Mongolian filmmaker who studied filmmaking at the University of Obirin, in Japan. Her short films were screened at Tampere Film Festival, Short Shorts Film Festival Asia, Open Doors Locarno Film Festival, etc. In 2021, her short film Stairs won the first prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and entered the 94th Oscars Award. She is an alumnus of Talents Tokyo, Asian Film Academy, Locarno Open Doors, Torino Film Lab, and Berlinale Talents.
See more films in this series:
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If Only I Could Hibernate
In the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, a story unfolds of perseverance under a truly daunting predicament. A teen with a gift for physics enters a national competition, struggling to make ends meet while pushing to succeed against all odds.
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Lisa is lured to a rare gathering with her parents and two siblings at the family's forest home. The purpose is to decide which child may inherit the vast land and take over the family business. A sensitive and funny portrayal of a dysfunctional family.
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