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Urga is a 1991 film by Russianmarker 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 film was an international co-production between companies based in Russiamarker and Francemarker.


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 his city born wife to bear a fourth child. A Russian truck driver named Sergei is stranded nearby, and finds his way to their house, where he and Gombo become friends despite their language and cultural differences. Gombo and Sergei go into the nearest city together, where Gombo buys a television set and attempts to buy contraceptives, but decides not to when he realizes everyone at the drugstore is a woman. Sergei, a former army bandsman, sings "Hills of Manchuria" in a nightclub, as the band plays from the sheet music tattooed on his back. He is arrested and then bailed out of jail by Gombo.

Gombo returns home, and along the way stops and takes a nap. He has a strange dream featuring his drunken, horse riding relative as Genghis Khan and his wife as Ghenghis Khan's wife. In the dream both he and Sergei are captured and killed. Gombo wakes and arrives home, with the television, and he and his family watch alternately the President of America speaking and a badly sung variety show. Gombo and his wife go into the fields, bringing the Urga (a long stick with a lasso on the end used to capture animals) which is then stuck into the ground far away in the fields, a signal that a couple is being intimate. A voice over from Gombo's fourth son concludes the film with the image of a chimney belching smoke into the air in the place where Gombo's Urga was once placed.


Urga won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and Best European Film at the European Film Awards. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and for a Golden Globe in the same category.

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