Some fairy tales are true...some legends are real.
Produced By
Written By
Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
Distributed By
ThinkFilm (theatrical), New Line Cinema (DVD)
Release Date
6 September 2003 (2003-09-06) (Toronto)
8 January 2004 (2004-01-08) (Germany)
87 min
PG (USA / Australia / Singapore)
U (UK)
A (Norway)
$1.7 million (USA)

The Story of the Weeping Camel is a 2003 Mongolian documentary produced by ThinkFilm. It was released internationally in 2000. The movie is directed and written by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni. The plot is about a family of nomadic shepherds in the Gobi desert trying to save the life of a rare white baby camel after it is rejected by its mother. The documentary was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Documentary at the 77th Academy Awards.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

During a spring season, a family of nomadic shepherds assists the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has an excruciatingly difficult delivery but, with help from the family, out comes a rare white calf. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, coldly refusing it her milk and her motherly love. When any hope for the little one seems to have vanished, the nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert, in search of a musician. Finally a violinist is summoned to the camp and a breathtaking ritual of folk music and chanting is performed. The archaic sound of the horse-head violin along with the melodic singing of one of the women elicit deep emotion into the mother camel's heart: when her young is brought to her again, she breaks into tears and finally allows it the milk it needs to survive.

The movie effortlessly blends drama, nature documentary, and ethnographic theme in a single film. Both the directors drew upon the documentary style of Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North), who recreated events to comprehensively portray his subjects. The pair tirelessly filmed spontaneous events for much of the mother-baby story, but chose to recreate certain moments in the family's daily life. The shots of a desert storm in the majestic landscape make it clear just how difficult circumstances were for working. A particularly humorous and insightful example involves a young boy who clearly feels conflicted between his family life and his desire for a more Western life. The film creates a contrast between the two, showing the boy listening to traditional fables in his family's tent, but then dreaming about owning a television. The film too provides a visually enchanting and unique learning experience. It speaks to the very nature of love—the baby camel cannot survive without his mother, just as no animal or person can.


External linksEdit

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