Cast: Odgerel Ayush, Janchiv Ayurzana, Ihbayar Amgaabazar, Chimed Ohin, Amgaabazar Gonson, Tseveljamts Nyam, Enhbulgan Ihbayar, Uuganbayar Ihbayar
Director: Luigi Farloni, Byambasuren Davaa
by Khishigsuren Dorj, New York
This movie is about Mongolian nomadic lifestyle that is subtly connected with nature and natural phenomena of survival. Nomadic herders have developed animal handling methods that thrived through thousands of years- long practice. One of them is the soothing therapy for mother animals that have rejected their new-born due to the difficult birth process or after-delivery complication besides the first time births, which is quite similar to the human pathology of postpartum syndrome.
Nomads have a unique custom called inge hoosloh, whichmeans coaxing the camel to accept its newborn by singing with music. They also use this for cows, mares, sheep and goats as well as for orphaned baby animals to be adopted by another mother animal.
In this narrative documentary with a cast of local herders, which takes place on the edges of the Gobi Desert, a young camel gives birth to a beautiful white calf but she rejects it. After some unsuccessful attempts to make the mother-camel accept its new-born calf and to feed the calf with milk from a horn-bottle they decided to invite the horse-head fiddle player from the village center, who is a music teacher at the local school.
In the meantime, it shows glimpses of the daily lives of herders and their minimalist but healthy lifestyle that is eco-friendly and stress free and also the influence of technology to the young generation, who are fascinated by modern gadgets, and how that creeps into their lives slowly and their cautious acceptance without greed.
It describes a hot ail, herder encampment, consisting of three gers (ger is nomadic dwelling), that has three generations of families. The wife of the son has a beautiful voice and sings a coaxing song with a horse-head fiddle to the camel. That song is pleading the camel to soften up and love its baby with a soothing melody, which exudes a subtle spiritual power.
The film is fairly long and a bit drawn out for an audience accustomed to fast, dynamic actions, but its gentle charm makes one melt when the camel weeps. It is a beautiful and compassionate tale of nomadic people and elevates our empathy while we slow down a little by tuning us to our inner peace.
Ider Batbayar, New York
Directed by Mrs. Byambasuren Davaa and Mr. Luigi Falorni – The Story of the Weeping Camel – is near and dear to my heart. Born and spent my early childhood in Mongolia’s Gobi desert, I have witnessed many wonders this northernmost desert in the world and the two-humped Bactrian camels that inhabit this vast land offer. However, the magical story this film presents is something that I have only heard about until I saw this film, not once but at least three times to date. I will share why this film captured my heart in two ways – the story and the style.
Camels are the biggest and the most magnificent among the animals in Mongolia. These beautiful creatures are depicted in many stories, carried on for generations in our nation. Among these stories, this film is based on a true story. A story that unfolds a unique connection between the nomadic people of Mongolia and the livestock that helps sustain their living. A story that reveals a power of harmony that wins against the odds of suffering, both for humans and animals alike. I sincerely thought the film directors were indeed at a right place at a right time to capture this unique story.
I appreciate the directors of this film for a style of showcasing the story exactly the way it happens in real life of the nomads. The characters in the film are not professional actors; they are members of ordinary local families in the Gobi desert. As such, the interactions of everyone in the film are so genuine and free flowing. Because of Director Mrs. Davaa’s style of showcasing Mongolia’s some of the most unique traditions and identities to the world the way these really are, I have watched a couple of other films she directed after this masterpiece: The Cave of the Yellow Dog, and The Two Horses of Genghis Khan.
I welcome you to watch The Story of the Weeping Camel and take on a journey in the footsteps of camel wranglers of the Mongolia’s Gobi desert.