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Set against the background of barren expanses, Gobi Women’s Song immerses the viewer in a different world. It is a world in a transitional moment, one that has occurred in all cultures, which decides the future lives, environment and lifestyle of its people.
Five 21st century nomadic women share their lives. They hum with the song of the soul passed down from their grandmothers and at the same time deal with the pressing issues of today’s world.
Through interviews that span four years, the film captures the rhythms of the harsh daily life of Gobi women and their families. Life here depends on connection -— connection with the environment, community, and family. The ground Gobi women live on is fragile, incapable of supporting agriculture. We see that they need to move 4-5 times a year to feed their animals and rest the pastures. In this way, they maintain a balance between themselves and their land.
We watch Gobi women make everything they need: felt from fleece sheared from their sheep, cheese, yoghurt, butter, and dried curds from their animals’ milk. Their staple, milk tea, comes from well water hand drawn up, carried by metal pail, heated by burning the dung collected from livestock. They milk their goats, horses, and camels. We learn that the tea itself, a brick of leaves and stems, comes from trading cashmere combed from their goats. Like our grandmothers before us, life asks everything of these women. There is no down-time. Nomadic life today is only possible because of hard-working women.
In this desolate and barren land, as beautiful as any on earth, we find that the dreams of Gobi women are like our own — they want their children to grow up and have a good life. They wish for good health. The women, true to their custom of hospitality, open their lives to us. They honor us with invitations to go to their land, go inside their homes, and their hospital. In this sensitive documentary, doctors, bone healers, and single women share their hopes and fears, their joy and laughter, their children, animals, and even their births. As we get to know them, we hold them in our hearts. We relate to them. Yet, we learn that many factors are changing, and we wonder what the future will bring them.