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Film / The Silent Souls

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The Silent Souls is a 2018 film from Mongolia, directed by Chinzorig Erdenebayar.

Tugsuu and Anir are husband and wife. They have gone to a drab, dusty village in the Mongolian countryside so Tugsuu, a medical doctor, can pursue his research in sexually-transmitted diseases. They are given a tiny, leaky, crumbling apartment, and Tugsuu is given an office in a shabby clinic. They aren't thrilled, but they resolve to make the best of it.

However, living in the country starts to take a toll on their marriage. Tugsuu neglects his wife for work, while Anir gets bored at home. Soon they are fighting. Both of them are presented with temptation: the sexy nurse assigned to Tugsuu flirts relentlessly with him, while Anir finds herself drawn to the guy who operates the hot water plant (the only thing that keeps a village habitable in the depths of Mongolian winter). Will their marriage survive?



  • Bathtub Scene: Anir takes a bath in an old-fashioned metal bathtub. It isn't very sexy though as she's feeling depressed after cheating on her husband.
  • Danger — Thin Ice: A village boy falls through the ice in the lake. Anir saves him, but suffers physical shock herself from being in icy water, and has a miscarriage. She blames her husband, although that at least really wasn't his fault, as he was called away to a medical emergency.
  • Downer Ending: Ends with the staff of the clinic throwing a going-away party for Tugsuu and Anir, with the two of them at a table giving Thousand Yard Stares at nothing, their marriage apparently completely broken.
  • Fish out of Water: Tugsuu and Anir, educated city folk, do not fit in the small village. This is most obvious in the scene where Anir is walking through town in her stylish boots, long coat, and scarf, while all the villagers in their clodhopper boots and bulky coats gawk at her.
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  • Girly Skirt Twirl: Zultzeleeg does this when a drunk Tugsuu lets her try on the dress he actually bought for his wife. Sex follows.
  • Gossipy Hens: Anir's neighbor woman, who comes into her apartment on thin excuses and likes to make gossipy comments about how Tugsuu is paying too much attention to his nurse.
    Anir: Why do you always gossip around anyway?
  • Hard-Work Montage: One scene follows Anir in a montage as she tries to fix the leaking pipes and peeling paint and dirt all over their ratty little apartment. It ends when Anir, scraping peeling paint from the roof while wearing a backless top and shorts, turns around and sees several teenaged boys staring at her through the window.
  • Hospital Hottie: Zultzeleeg, the curvaceous nurse assigned to Tugsuu. She fusses with her hair after meeting him. Later she brings him a home-cooked lunch. Eventually she succeeds in seducing him while he's drunk.
  • Jerkass: Anir complains too much about Tugsuu working but most of the couple's problems root from Tugsuu. He's rude and nasty when she brings him lunch at the office—she winds up giving it to the water guy. One fight in which she yells at him for not paying enough attention to her is enough for him to stalk off to the hospital and get drunk—and then have sex with the nurse. Later he grossly overreacts when Anir goes out to drink and dance at the local club, freaking out and hitting her in the face.
  • Race for Your Love: Subverted. Tugsuu discovers that Anir has left (all her clothes are gone). He races to the train station, only to discover that she isn't there. Defeated, he comes back to the apartment, and finds Anir there, after she changed her mind and came home.
  • Scenery Censor: In one scene where Tugsuu is giving a gynecological exam to a woman of the town, the camera is staged so that his body blocks the view of her privates.
  • Shower of Angst: Tugsuu evidently feels guilty about having sex with the nurse, taking a long, melancholy shower afterwards.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tugsuu completely loses it after finding Anir drunk and dancing at the club. He drags her out by the arm and, outside, hits her in the face. That seems to be the final death blow to their marriage.

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