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Desert Dream, a Film about Life on the Isolated Mongolian Steppes, has a Weeklong Run at MoMA
From the film Hyazgar (Desert Dream). Written and directed by Lu Zhang. Pictured: Seo Jung.

NEW YORK, NY.- As part of its ongoing ContemporAsian series, The Museum of Modern Art presents a week-long run of Hyazgar (Desert Dream) (2007), from April 15 through 20, 2009, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters. Written and directed by Lu Zhang (Chinese, b. 1962), the film focuses on Hungai, who lives with his family on the isolated Mongolian steppes and is obsessively devoted to the reforestation of the barren land that surrounds him. When his wife and daughter leave on a trip to the city, Hungai finds himself hosting a pair of North Korean refugees, Soonhee and her son Changho, who gradually fill familial roles that Hungai never cherished with his own wife and daughter.

Desert Dream is more than a frontier tale of a lone ranger and his lost horizons; it is a minimalist paradox, a film that uses epic proportions and wide expanses to examine the confined desires of these self-styled nomads and settlers. Zhang composes his ambitious feature with picture-book simplicity and rhythmic offscreen sound tapestries, yet never surrenders the humanism of its drama.

In the monthly exhibition ContemporAsian, MoMA showcases films that get little exposure, but which engage the various styles, histories, and changes in Asian cinema. Films are presented in special weeklong engagements, allowing audiences the rare chance to enjoy undistributed gems on the big screen and to experience the diversity and richness of Asian cinema in all its many forms. Asian cinema is fast becoming a cinema without borders. Digital filmmaking and international coproductions are rapidly transforming an industry in which the transnational flow of talent and resources-even between the U.S. and Asia-has become the norm.

Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film, and William Phuan, independent curator, with additional support from Asian CineVision.

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