A poor but prideful teenager, Ulzii, lives in the yurt area of Ulaanbaatar with his family. He is a physics genius and is determined to win a science competition to earn a scholarship. When his mother finds a job in the countryside, she leaves him and his younger siblings to face a harsh winter by themselves. Ulzii will have to take a risky job to look after them all and keep his home heated.
1980, Abadan. The capital of the Iranian oil industry is resisting an Iraqi siege. Fourteen-year-old Omid has braved the siege and stayed in the city with his grandfather, waiting for his elder brother to return from the front line. Along with Omid, a gallery of unusual characters have all remained in the city for their own reasons, and each resists in his or her own way. But the noose is tightening as Omid tries to save his loved ones, by embarking them on an abandoned boat he finds in Abadan’s port, that will become his ark.