City of Wind

Ser Ser Salhi

City of Wind

Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir

FR / MN / PT / NL / DE / QA
Audience Award

Roughly half of Mongolia’s 3.2 million people reside in the capital Ulaanbaatar, a sprawling maze of roads and jagged skyscrapers. A quarter of the populace are nomadic, dwelling on the vast steppe in traditional yurts, many still adhering to the ancient shamanistic, animistic religion of Tengrism. Echoing its title, City of Wind meditates on a transient edge: a realm forged from the elements of two distinct worlds. Seventeen-year-old Ze is a top student, devoted community member, and gifted shaman in his village. Like countless teenagers, he contends with feelings of inadequacy, observing alluring urban comforts from the rural periphery. Ze’s encounter with the spirited city girl Maalaa during a shamanic ritual, sparks a longing in him, both physical and transformational. Enchanted with her, he evolves into a thoughtful, adaptable partner, letting her take the lead with experimental activities like bold hair-dying or late-night dancing in Ulaanbaatar’s techno scene – a departure from his customary adorning of ceremonial headdresses or invoking ancestral spirits via shamanic drumming.

»Through Ze, I wish to display a fusion of the past, present, and the future of Mongolia«, says director Purev-Ochir. Artfully, she unravels Mongolia’s trajectory since the post-Communist 90s, eschewing an anthropological gaze for a more somber narrative rooted in social realism. Tergel Bold-Erdene delivers a nuanced portrayal of a teen navigating traditional, spiritual duties and personal exploration. Floating, yet crisp camera shots and a sparse, yet otherworldly electronic score heighten the contrast of coexisting realities.

Director / Script

Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir


Vasco Viana


Matthieu Taponier


Benjamin Silvestre


Vasco Mendonça


Tergel Bold-Erdene, Nomin-Erdene Ariunbyamba, Anu-Ujin Tsermaa, Bulgan Chuluunbat, Ganzorig Tsetsgee, Myagmarnaran Gombo, Tsend-Ayush Nyamsuren


Katia Khazak, Charlotte Vincent – Aurora Films


Guru Media, Uma Pedra no Sapato, Volya Films, 27 Films Production, VOO by mobinet, Ariunaa Tserenpil, Rachel Daisy Ellis, Filipa Reis, Denis Vaslin, Fleur Knopperts, Oliver Damian, Munkhzorig Bayasgalan


Best Friend Forever

Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir

Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (*1989) is a filmmaker from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Her debut feature, Ser Ser Salhi, is Mongolia’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards. She has directed acclaimed short films like Mountain Cat (2020, Cannes and Sundance) and Snow in September (2022), winner of the Golden Lion for Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival. She holds a BA in film direction from Dokuz Eylul University.

Awards for Ser Ser Salhi: Tergel Bold-Erdene, best actor, Orizzonti, Venedig 2023