North Mongolia, a forgotten village, post-soviet atmosphere, young girls go to school, laugh, fall in love, make selfies, talk with their mothers and grand-mothers. How to be a woman, here and there, between dreams of freedom, studies, traditions and modernity? Are they really different from us? You will know everything about the girls of White Lake. And myself, what kind of woman did I become?

Laetitia Merli is a French filmmaker and anthropologist (PhD), specialist of Mongolia and Siberia. She teaches documentary filmmaking (former lecturer at the Granada Centre in Manchester, Documentary film workshop in Marseille-EHESS). She made several films awarded in international festivals (Festival Jean Rouch, RAI, Cervino FF) and screened on TV (Arte, Planète): Call for Grace (2000), Shaman Tour (2009), The Shamans’ Revenge (2010), Today’s Shamans (2016).

Note of Intention : When we think about Mongolia, inevitably, some clichés about steppes, eagles, yurts, shamans and wild horses pop up in our mind. Of course this Mongolia still exists and will be filmed, but today more than that has taken place: globalisation, tourism, modernisation… and when we scratch the surface of the post-card a much more interesting reality appears, which offers a quirky and universal image dealing with deep societal changes, the place of the women, digital access, post-soviet neo-liberalism… I want to show this contemporary Mongolia and discuss with Mongolian girls about their lives. I’m often more attracted by backstage and looking for intimacy, complexity, contradiction and self-mockery more than great official speeches. As I know well the field and the people involved in my project, I can go for this! I started to visit the region in 1998, some of the girls are now married and have children, some grandmothers passed away, I’m part of their lives and vice versa. With tenderness, I always thought of my friends, the girls of White Lake, wondering what kind of life they will live, looking at them growing up… And now, 20 years later, daughters and granddaughters of my friends, what are your dreams? What are you up to in the new Mongolia? Will you go to Ulaanbaatar to study? Will you be herder, shaman, guest-house holder? Today Internet has spread through the vast steppes and reached the isolated taiga area, kids play videogames, post pictures on Instagram, herders have Facebook accounts and even grandmothers play at Candy Crush. This is the world we live in.

Production : LA BOITE À SONGES, 3 rue Faubourg la Grappe, 28000 Chartres, FRANCE / Tél : 07 82 71 51 62

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