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Ub Lama

Documentary Film
2011
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Arunas Matelis, Lukas Trimonis
Egle Vertelyte
Titas Petrikis
Gerelsukh Otgon, Egle Vertelyte
Francesca Scalisi
Egle Vertelyte
Vytis Puronas
A boy like many others of his age: Galaa (12) is a smart, pudgy little rascal who’s not overly fond of school. He prefers to hang out with his little brother (6), listen to hip hop music, watch wrestling on television or eat junk food and play at online dating. The latter is only a fantasy, though, for Galaa lives with his mother and little brother in a yurt settlement on the edge of Ulan Bator (without a computer, of course). For the family – his father died in an accident a few years ago – every new day is a balancing act of survival, for what they earn as ambulant petty traders on the market is barely enough to buy food. So enrolling the boy in a Buddhist monastery school is less a matter of vocation than of existential self-defence. It would be a relief for the family if he was accepted and Galaa himself would be offered a real future perspective. The boy soon realises that this thing would not be bad for him at all and acquires a taste for the whole ceremonial order of Buddhist monasticism with its drums, prayer mills, colourful clothes and bags. A charmingly light and fascinatingly profound documentary coming-of-age story deftly balanced between materialism and spiritualism and – last but not least –fuelled by a heart-rending sense of humour.
– Ralph Eue

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