Film Review: Story of the Weeping Camel (2004) Is Valid Only Once

Film Info:

Ingen Nulims, or Story of the Weeping Camel (2004)

Docudrama

Director: Luigi Farloni, Byambasuren Davaa

Screenwriter: Luigi Farloni, Byambasuren Davaa

Starring: Odgerel Ayush, Ikhbayar Amgaabazar, Uuganbayar Ikhbayar, Enkhbulgan Ikhbayar, Guntbayar Ikhbayar

Basically:

Nanook of the North meets August Rush

What’s it about?

In the Mongolian Gobi desert, a camel gives birth to an albino colt and abandons her. The family feeds the camel while trying to make them reconcile with the power of music.

My impression:

Because this is the first and only Oscar-nominated Mongolian film, I had such high expectations for this film. But after watching this film, I wondered if people thought Mongolia was like this all the way.

Favorite Characters:

Colt – A recently born albino baby camel. Camels aren’t pretty animals, to be honest. But this colt, with her “ugly duckling” situation, made me care about her.

Ugna – A boy of 6 or 7 years old. He’s the youngest of the family. He was surprisingly articulate and stole the scene every time with his shrill and naive questions. He had his own subplot about discovering a television set, and pining for it.

Dude – A boy of maybe 10 years old. He’s the elder brother of the family. His name is pronounced (Do-Day), b=]ut I bet the producers snickered when they thought it sounded like “dude”. So, the Dude in this film doesn’t look like Jeff Bridges. He was a calm and a responsible brother.

Theme:

OK, there’s the mother camel who abandons her child because she looked different. Then there’s the theme of nomadic lifestyle. And I think it’s a little too patronizing. I mean, the naivete of the nomads was on par with the good-because-it’s-a-comedy “Gods Must Be Crazy” and the bad-because-it’s-offensive “Mongolian Ping Pong“. I mean, this was made 11 years ago, so maybe it didn’t age well. The creators said they were inspired by Nanook of the North, but that was recently criticized for faking the native culture. (Yes, my source is Cracked.com, what did you expect from an internet writer like me?) I mean, the “camel-whispering musician” tradition is unique, we just need it in a different tone, as a musical or something. If there’s ever a sequel, it should be “Camel-Whisperer: The Musical”. (Serious filmmakers, note that you’re reading a comedy website)

Conclusion:

This is a good doorway to see the unique tradition of “animal-whispering” by the Mongols. But the part about Mongols being nomads truly ignorant to technology has expired.

Story of the Weeping Camel is available on Amazon.

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mm About Natso Baatarkhuu
Natso Baatarkhuu lives in Mongolia and writes in English. His works have appeared in Cracked.com and The UB Post, and he started this website. He dreams of publishing novels and selling screenplays someday.

mm

Natso Baatarkhuu

Natso Baatarkhuu lives in Mongolia and writes in English. His works have appeared in Cracked.com and The UB Post, and he started this website. He dreams of publishing novels and selling screenplays someday.

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