(Die Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel)

Byambasuran Davaa and Luigi Falorni. Germany. 2003.

Talking Pictures alias







About Us


“God is afoot, magic is alive…magic never died” - Leonard Cohen.

At the beginning of The Story of the Weeping Camel, a film that chronicles the daily life of a family of shepherds in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, one of the elders tells the story of the weeping camels. At one time, he says, a camel loaned his antlers to a deer but they were never returned causing the camels to look to the horizon with tears in their eyes, hoping that their antlers will be returned. It is the spring and the time for camels to give birth. One of the camels has a painful birth and the family members help the distraught camel by pulling a beautiful white colt from her womb. 

Almost immediately, it seems that the camel has rejected her young for reasons unknown but perhaps because it was such a difficult delivery. Although the members of the clan make every effort to bring the mother and her offspring who they have named “Botok” together, no results are produced and the picture of the baby wandering alone longing for his mother is heartbreaking. The film, however, is not a sad one. It radiates the purity of the simpler life that has gone on for centuries and the ties that nurture a family, their responsibilities and the traditions that they share. Great grandmother Chimed cooks the milk and cares for the family's young granddaughter while her mother Odgoo works with the animals and the family treats the young lambs as pets.  

Nothing works, however, to bring mother and baby camel together until an ancient ritual is performed. The family's two young sons Dude and Ugna are sent on a trip by camel of what appears to be several miles to the regional tribal center at Aimak. There they request that the music teacher come to their tents to perform a ritual where the teacher will play the violin and the boys' mother will sing to the camel. The ritual was learned by Luigi Falorni, a film student in Germany, from a fellow student, a Mongolian, and they both traveled to the Far East to make the film, in the tradition of Robert J. Flaherty's Nanook of the North. 

At Aimak, the boys are introduced to a touch of the modern world - TV, motorcycles, and computer games. Ugna buys an ice cream and batteries for his grandfather and when he comes home, he sheepishly asks his family if they would buy him a TV. The ritual performed by the family and the music teacher highlights the healing traditions that families in the area have used for hundreds of years and it is soothing and quite beautiful. The Story of the Weeping Camel is very slow, perhaps too slow for some children, yet is a wonderful learning experience of nurturing and how other cultures live, the feeling of community, and how healing can be performed in ways other than taking two pills before bedtime.


Howard Schumann

Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search
   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us