April 27, 1993 -- ``Close to Eden'' is a film that sort of reminds me of home, home on the range, that is.
I've heard that Siberia is a lot like Wyoming. It could well be, because ``Close to Eden,'' a film about some people on the Mongolian frontier, had settings that looked a lot like parts of the Laramie Valley. Rolling hills of short prairie grasslands with mountains in the distance and not a tree in sight. Lots of wind, too. Sound familiar?
The film, by Nikita Mikhalkov, is an interesting slice of life film about a family of Mongolians trying to live their traditional life in spite of Communist edicts about how many children they can have.
It is also the story of a Russian stuck on the frontier because it is the only place he can get a job. Far from his family, he exudes Russian angst. The story concerns ancient customs fighting with modern culture. It also has a number of funny scenes along with a really gross scene of the butchering of a sheep (while the credits were not in English, I assume the ASPCA did not approve of the way this film was made). All in all, it is a pretty good, film, but not quite up to the level of ``Indochine,'' by which it was beaten for best foreign film in the recently-conducted Academy Awards. It rates a C+
Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.