The official website describes “The Story of the Weeping Camel” as a film that is, “comprised of equal parts reality, drama and magic.” This is a perfect description of this fascinating and beautiful film from the writer/director team of student filmmakers Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni. It feels like a documentary but plays out as a touching drama about a nomadic group of farmers and their herd of camels in the midst of the Gobi dessert.
The story starts out as the farmers prepare to assist a batch of camels that are about to give birth and while some of them deliver their little ones with ease, another of the camels has to endure an extremely agonizing delivery process. After the camel is born, the mother wants nothing to do with it. The colt tries countless times to be with its mother and nurse from her but she rejects him and walks away. The farmers then milk the camel and bottle it up for the colt but the colt only wants it straight from its mother. If it doesn’t get the milk it needs, it will die.
If this sounds like a documentary made for the Discovery Channel to you, it very well feels that way. “The Story of the Weeping Camel” is a serene film that requires patience from its viewer. Unlike those documentaries on TV, however, this film takes out all annoying narration that spells everything out for you and leaves the viewer to see it for themselves with absolutely stunning cinematography done by co-director Luigi Falorni. The whole film takes place in a dry desert yet the pictures are always well composed and truly striking.
Another amazing aspect of this film is the actual people. They live in the middle of the desert without most of technology (electricity for example) and are truly in tune with the Earth. While farmers here in the States have no problem getting rid of animals that have some minor problem (remember the beginning of “Charlotte’s Web?”), these farmers try everything in their will to get these two camels to exist with each other. It is remarkable to know that there are still people left on this Earth that care and feel for animals in ways that most others take for granted.