June 25, 2004
the story of the weeping camel

(international film festival, san francisco, kabuki 8, 4/27/04, 5:45 pm, with jason and laura)

camels! yurts! mongolia!

also sheep and cats and deer and goats. this movie was fucking sweet like a menagerie.

the camels have pierced noses. ouch. but that's nothing compared to birthing a baby camel. shown in all its more horrifying detail. see, for a while i thought it was a breach birth, but i think in the end either the baby was just too big, or the mother was just lazy. i think it was her first birth. anyway, the baby wouldn't come out. eventually the yurt dwellers are trying to pull it out and they get it out mostly and wipe the goo off its nose and mouth so it can breathe. and the mother is just kind of laying there with this baby half-in and half-out of her vagina. finally the baby starts trying to get out the rest of the way, right? so its kicking the mom's uterus with its back feet trying to propel itself forward. blood and birthing fluids everywhere! kicking the uterus! i'm never giving birth!

there's not much talking in this movie. mostly they just go about their camel, sheep, goat tending duties. there's 3 little kids. CUTE. they tie the little girl to a pole in the yurt so she can't go getting into trouble. and then they gave her a pot and spoon to bang on. thus cementing my theory that all little kids, whether in mongolia or the US can be pacified with a spoon and bowl. it's the banging noise. and the way it vibrates. fuck, i love me some spoon hitting bowl music.

um. anyway the point of this movie is that it's a fake documentary. the family in it act out what a normal month or so for them would be like. so the movie is made with the cooperation of the family and the film-makers (first timers from sweden or somewhere) film stuff. the plot is that this camel gives birth to a white camel (which is a good omen) but then refuses to suckle it. so the family tries all these different ways to make the mother feed her baby and keep failing. and they think the baby will die (also its anus drips nasty looking liquids. yes. i watched it.) so finally they send the two boys to town via camel-riding to bring back the violin player. the violin player can make beautiful music and there is this little mini-ritual to impress the cosmos upon the camel mother to give it a sense of civic duty. or at least of motherhood. and then she cries.

and they all live happily ever after. especially the yurt residents who get a tv and huge satellite reception thing. presumably for having hosted these film-makers. so see, even in the middle of the mongolian desert you can be connected by tv to the rest of the world. you might have violinists and weeping camels, but we can indoctrinate you with crap programming to be just as unoriginal as the rest of us.

Posted by michele at June 25, 2004 10:26 AM

Could you comment on whether the movie was actually GOOD?

I kind of want to see it, even though there's a lot of camel fluid in it.

Posted by: Dianna on June 25, 2004 10:33 AM

oh sorry. was my obvious love of this movie not obvious? it's FANTASTIC, dianna. you should see it. i loved it. also jason and laura loved it. and then we made camel noises and tried to make our palms do the squishing spreading out thing which camel hoofs do when they walk all thru dinner afterwards. it was great.

Posted by: michele on June 25, 2004 10:46 AM

Michele is mistaken. It is not a violin. Duh. Perhaps she should check out what violins actually look like. Anyway, the movie was sweet in a surreal kind of way. I liked it.

Posted by: Tommy Zap on February 7, 2005 09:01 PM