In Mongolia, a third of the population lives in poverty. Is that why the suicide rate is so high? Suicide survivors and family members of those who have taken their lives relate their circumstances, directly opposite to promises of democracy, human rights and well-being, made 30 years ago.
Not all of them wish to be identifiable in the film; suicide is a taboo. In the darkness, a teenager whispers emotionally about her brother’s suicide and a couple who lives off selling scrap metal tells a story of their son’s survival. The stories come from different parts of the country, but everywhere the reasons given for suicide are similar: hopelessness, loneliness, unemployment, injustice and lack of choices. In public, people blame the ever-corrupt government, that’s been robbing people of opportunities.
The living conditions of a couple that survives on digging for scrap metal seem to symbolize the state of the nation. If they sell the scrap iron, still left from the former Soviet military base, they’ll have just enough money to buy food for a few days. It’s an existence far removed from the freedoms of traditional nomadic life, that for many Mongolians become an unaffordable dream.