The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)—Mongolian

Shot on location in the Gobi desert of Mongolia, this unlikely but fascinating film documents the lives of a four-generation family of herders who live together but all alone in tents. If we did not know this was planet earth, the landscape might lead us to believe it was the moon. Wind, sand, rocks, sun, and the distant horizon of mountains are about all the eye can see. Tragedy strikes when an albino camel is born and the mother refuses to have anything to do with it. She spits at her baby, kicks it, flees from it, and refuses to let it nurse. This is a heart-rending natural tragedy, but for the desert dwellers it is a looming economic disaster. After trying every trick of the trade to reconcile mother and baby, the great-grand-father advises that they must call for a musician to perform an ancient, traditional ritual to heal the camel. They do so by dispatching the two very young brothers Dude and Ugna, who ride their camels alone across the desert wastelands some 30 miles to the nearest town. There they encounter the distractions of television and computers in a sub-plot of culture clash. But they succeed in their mission, and the rest of the film records the result. Breath-taking scenery and provocative ethnographic questions make this a very special film. In Mongolian with English subtitles.