a film by Sven Zellner, Chingunjav Borkhuu


2012 | 93:00 min

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The vast desert landscape of the Gobi gives you the impression of untouched nature. Thirty meters under the earth, however, in the pit of an illegal goldmine, there is total darkness. A compressor pipe is the only means of communication with the people at the entrance of the mine. Khuyagaa, the illegal gold-digger or, as they are called here, the ninja, shouts into the pipe: “Take a good look at the rocks to see whether there are any traces of gold or not!” Then he takes the pneumatic hammer and continues working on a vein of gold on the ceiling. Dust and rocks rain down on him.
“Gold is a gamble,” says Khuyagaa. He is digging with four other men who used to be nomads. At the head of the group are two undisputed leaders. Usukhuu Akh, who has a dreadful scar across his face, the result of a knife fight, is one of them. And Ochiroo Akh, who swears a lot and puts everyone in a bad mood, is the second boss. Khuyagaa is the foreman. And that means he works the hardest of them all, and he is the only one who does the most difficult part of the work. He is the one who has to go down into the gallery to prepare the blasting with sticks of dynamite. He dreams of finding enough gold so that he can finally quit illegal gold-digging and do something else one day, of finding a job with a steady income and less danger.
Munich, Toronto, Brooklyn, Duisburg – arte Documentary Award,
Cast and Crew
  • Director Sven Zellner, Chingunjav Borkhuu
Original Languages


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