Two filmmakers went to Mongolia's Gobi desert to make a documentary. Here, they got to know one particular family and witnessed a real story that was unfolding in front of their eyes. They filmed it all. And this film is the result.
The family is real. The little girl cries for her mother but quiets when her grandmother gives her a sweet. The two boys act like children everywhere, wide eyed with wonder and wanting to help out their family. The parents are loving. The grandparents are wise. They raise camels and sheep for a living and have been doing so for hundreds of years. There is plenty of food and they seem to have all the things they need even though they live without electricity and just a battery-operated radio to connect them to the outside world. Of course the modern world is influencing them. The little girl wears a sweatshirt with silk-screening on it. The little boy keeps asking for a television set.
The central story, however, is about a camel. Yes, a camel. It's the birthing season and we watch a camel giving birth and then bonding with her young. That's the way it's supposed to be. Another mama camel, however, has a difficult birth. The little one is coming feet first and the mama camel is in a lot of distress. The family watches this all and tries to help, but basically, the mama camel does it all on her own. Then, instead of the instant bonding that we've already seen among other camels, this mama camel rejects her little one. The family tries everything to try to make her feed her baby, but she just pushes the little camel away. Days go by and even though the family tries to feed the baby camel, they know that the little one will die if he doesn't get his mother's milk in quantity.
The two young boys, who are probably about 7 and 13 are sent on a journey to bring back a musician who will play sacred music. The family believes that this might make the mother camel receptive to the baby camel. It's quite a long trip and looked dangerous even though I knew that there was a film crew along filming the whole thing. The settlement is Russian and there is a school and some stores and a market. Most of all though, there is television. The boys are fascinated.
Soon they return. And the musician comes too. And of course there is a happy ending.
Along the way, though, I felt I was picked up and gently placed down in a culture on the other side of the world. I absorbed the details of their lives. Stressed with them over their problem with the camel. And really cared for them all, including the camel.
I highly recommend this film for everyone. It's a truly engrossing and heartwarming story as well as being a valuable lesson in geography and cultural anthropology. Don't miss it!--Linda Linguvic