THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL
After watching the first half of this rather slow docu-drama, I felt my eyelids growing heavy. There wasn't a lot of action to keep the viewer involved, and the story is told completely from a Mongolian perspective with no voice-over narration nor explanations as to why certain things are the way they are. And this is both a strength and a weakness of the film; its strength being a complete submersion into Mongolian life without any Americanized influence, while its weakness being the confusion some might feel when cultural things happen for reasons unknown.
For those who want a fast-paced narrative, you're certainly not going to find it here. But if you hang in there, the last 20 minutes of the film will reward you beyond any expectations.
If you're a lover of music, then you're in for a heart-rendering and absolutely phenomenal climax, too.
The story is about a group of nomadic Mongolian sheep herders who one day discover that the last camel in their harem is about to give birth ...but all is not going well. The birth is long and painful for the mother, and human intervention is a must in order to save the colt. And as the colt emerges from the womb, it appears different: it's completely white. The mother rejects its offspring and refuses to allow it to suckle, thus threatening the colt with starvation.
We watch as time and again the sheep herding family try to get the mother to nurse the newborn, but there seems no hope. The colt may die ...unless they can convince the music teacher of a nearby town to come and perform a special ceremony involving a Chinese violin. So off to the city go two young brothers, and convince the teacher to come and help the mother and colt bond through an incredible musical display.
The one thing that struck me was how sound-oriented camels are. I had no idea, never having spent much time around these humpbacked giants. But the Mongolian natives, who've grown up for centuries with these beasts of burden, know much more about them than most outsiders could ever imagine.
And, again, don't give up on the film. Watch it to its conclusion and you won't be disappointed. I promise ...