City of Wind is the International Feature submission for Mongolia. The film is a coming of age drama focused on a Mongolian shaman, Ze. By day, he is a seventeen year old high school student who is quiet and soft spoken. During his free time, when members of the community need spiritual help, Ze summons his ancestral spirit known as “Grandpa Spirit,” while wearing a robe and mask and changing his voice when speaking. Ze believes in what he does, and he’s known of his special gift ever since he was a young boy.
Things change for him though when one of his clients is a girl his own age, brought to him by her mother to prepare for a major heart surgery. Maralaa is highly skeptical of Ze’s abilities and calls him a con-artist. She feels that he’s an opportunist just wanting to make some easy cash. But the surgery is a success and Ze visits her in the hospital and the two of them have an instant connection. It’s Ze’s first love and soon it begins to control his entire life. But this all has consequences, and this change in lifestyle begins to separate him from his ancestral spirits.
Ze has created a world that balances out his spiritual gift with the world around him but this all begins to crumble when Ze has his first girlfriend. He goes clubbing with her for the first time, drinks alcohol for the first time, has sex for the first time, begins to rebel in class for the first time, and so on. Their joy lies in the simple things like hanging out in the mall or dyeing their hair together. Ze is experiencing a kind of happiness that was unknown to him until then. By questioning all authorities and expectations for the first time, Ze grows up right in front of our eyes.
But on the other hand, Ze can feel that his “Grandpa Spirit” is disturbed by all of these newfound distractions. While dancing late at night he can feel a disturbance inside him. It’s like his body is being divided into two and are separating from one another. During one ceremony he is even unable to summon his inner shaman. He begins to witness that his family and neighbours are struggling in his absence, and he feels responsible for it.
For Ze, his body has been split into two halves. One half is his spirituality. And his other half is his newfound freedom. When one side is happy, the other side is sad. Ze can’t change the direction of the wind, but he can re-adjust his inner self to reach his destination.