Oscar Movies: Close to Eden (Urga) (1992)

Russian writer-director Nikita Mikhalkov’s film about the impact of modern civilization on an idyllic part of Mongolia won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

The simple, beautifully shot tale centers on A farmer (Bayyartu) and his wife, who live in a rural part of Inner Mongolia, where they raise three children. However, Chinese population control policies prevent them from having any more.

The farmer sets out for the nearest town to obtain birth control. He comes upon a Russian truck driver (Vladimir Gostyukhin) who has ended up in a lake. The farmer takes the man back to his farm, and after initially being appalled at the lack of civilization, the Russian becomes enchanted with the peaceful life of the backwards countryside and decides to stay. But inevitably his presences bring about changes for the peasants.

Mikhalkov would win the Best Foreign Language Oscar two years later, for “Burnt by the Sun.””

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Foreign Language Oscar

Oscar Context:

The winner was the French entry, “Ïndochine,” starring Catherine Deneuve.

Running time: 109 Minutes.

Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov.

Released:  September 1, 1991 Wide

DVD: October 6, 1993

Paramount Home Video