Release: 4 Jun. 04
|The Story of the Weeping Camel
BY: DAVID PERRY
Channeling Robert Flaherty and his travails with Nanook,
directors Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni decided to travel to the Gobi
Desert, convince a family of nomads to play themselves for the camera, and
wait for the birth of a white camel. These beautiful creatures look so much
unlike their mothers that they often die of starvation when the mother camel
rejects feeding this unusual baby.
That they achieve all three is rather amazing, and The Story of the Weeping
Camel, built largely on these negotiations of man and nature feels like a
documentary from beginning to end. Using myths that have stood within tribes
for centuries, Davaa, who is the grandchild of a tribesman, and Falroni
capture the mystic nature of cultural without the pretense of Westerners.
There are images that symbolize the entrance of “civilized” society into
these people’s daily lives, but they neither seem like accommodating nor
destructive elements, but just a part of the Westernization of all peoples,
even those far removed from the West. Beyond the motorcycle that connects
them to the outside world, it’s that movie camera filming them that truly
removes them from the ancestral background. That their heritage still feels
intact is quite a feat.