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The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)

Cast: Janchiv Ayurzana, Chimed Ohin, Amgaabazar Gonson, more...
Director: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
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Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Documentary, Foreign, Nature & Science , Germany
Running Time: 87 min.
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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A nomadic family in Mongolia's Gobi desert faces a problem when a white camel colt is born in a difficult delivery and the mother rejects it. Repeated efforts by the extended family to get the mother to nurse the colt fail. The colt stands alone and cries for its mother. The family worries that the colt will not survive. Finally, Dude (Enkhbulgan Ikhbayar), the older boy, is sent to a nearby town to find a musician who can perform a "Hoos" ceremony. Little Ugna (Uuganbaatar Ikhbayar) begs to go along. The two boys travel for miles across the desert, stopping at a neighbor's yert, where Ugna is delighted by his first encounter with television. They travel on to the village, and then return home with word that a musician is on the way. A musical ceremony is performed in an effort to get the mother camel to accept her colt. The Story of the Weeping Camel is a blend of documentary footage and narrative. Filmmakers Luigi Falorni and Byambasuren Davaa cast a real nomad family of herders and shot many of the events in the film as they occurred. The Story of the Weeping Camel was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art for inclusion in the 2004 edition of New Directors/New Films. It also won the 2003 European Film Award for Best Documentary. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Camel Parenting by talltale February 2, 2005 - 8:38 AM PST
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL was one of last year's films that I was most looking forward to, no doubt on the basis of the reviews I'd read. So, again, this is one of those cases in which a movie fails to live up to expectations. Still, I'm glad I saw this story about a Mongolian family who raise sheep and camels, and the particular problem they have with a mother camel that refuses to acknowledge (or even feed) its "colt." The details of daily life (which are both traditional and modern) are intriguing, but the manner in which the film hovers between documentary and fiction (with the characters now-and-then catching the camera's eye) renders the film a little amateurish. And its deadening consistency of pacing--no doubt reflecting the pace of Mongolian life in the dessert--may mean that you must occasionally slap yourself across the face to keep alert. The line between fascinating and boring has rarely seemed so thin. (One of the children in the film is named "Dude," however, and that alone adds a bit of unintentional humor to the proceedings.)

Good hybrid by MaryPickford August 23, 2004 - 4:21 PM PDT
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
This is not strictly a documentary, but rather, a hybrid, because parts of it were reenactments. However, the subjects were remarkably unselfconscious, considering they were living in such primitive circumstances that being filmed must have felt very strange. I wasn't in much suspense regarding whether the mother camel would eventually accept her colt, but I enjoyed the process nonetheless. I was fascinated with Mongolian life in the Gobi desert, and found the camels interesting. The struggle to get the mother camel to accept her colt reminded me of the verse in the Bible, "When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up" (Ps 27).

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.46)
100 Votes
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