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The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)

Die Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel (original title)
When a Mongolian nomadic family's newest camel colt is rejected by its mother, a musician is needed for a ritual to change her mind.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Janchiv Ayurzana ... Janchiv
Chimed Ohin ... Chimed
Amgaabazar Gonson Amgaabazar Gonson ... Amgaa
Zeveljamz Nyam ... Zevel
Ikhbayar Amgaabazar ... Ikchee
Odgerel Ayusch ... Odgoo
Enkhbulgan Ikhbayar ... Dude
Uuganbaatar Ikhbayar ... Ugna
Guntbaatar Ikhbayar ... Guntee
Munkhbayar Lhagvaa ... Munkbayar, violin teacher
Ariunjargal Adiya Ariunjargal Adiya ... Teacher's Assistant
Dogo Roljav Dogo Roljav ... Relative Aimak I
Chuluunzezeg Gur Chuluunzezeg Gur ... Relative Aimak II
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Botok Botok ... Baby Camel
Ingen Tenne Ingen Tenne ... Mother Camel


Springtime in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia. 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 colt. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, 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, to a a backwater town in search of a musician who is their only hope for saving the colt's life. Written by TNS

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some fairy tales are true... some legends are real. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild thematic content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Official submission of Mongolia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. See more »


[first lines]
Janchiv: Now my children I'll tell you the story of the weeping camel. Many years ago, God gave antlers to the camel as a reward for the goodness of its heart. But one day a rogue deer came and asked the camel to lend him his antlers. He wanted to adorn himself with them for a celebration in the west. The camel trusted the deer and gave him his antlers, but the deer never brought them back. Since then the camels keep gazing at the horizon and still await the deer's return.
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Referenced in Pastewka: Die Strategie der Schnecke (2006) See more »

User Reviews

A beautiful film out of time and step with a lesser world outside.
6 July 2004 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

In the Gobi desert, where a nomadic tribe tends its camels like Jay Leno his automobiles, a mother rejects a white calf just delivered with difficulty. The society's initiative to bring mother to nurse the child is the center of an otherwise simple plot. The astounding cinematography (Yes, the desert is stunning even after 90 minutes) and the scrubbed-face happiness of the family are the real stars of this half documentary, half reenactment of a crisis every bit as important to this family as a birth is to a tightly-knit family anywhere in the rest of the world.

And yet a theme appears as I reflect on the happiness of this attractive clan: the emergence of modernism even in Mongolia. In two young men's 50-kilometer journey to find help for the camel, they discover television and computer games. The younger boy, fascinated by the technology, asks his father to purchase a TV. The grandfather gently offers his concern that the boy would be watching fleeting glass images-the case is closed, a powerful reminder of the benign presence of grandparents in this culture, the wisdom of elders, and the fresh-aired innocence of the clan, which will not give itself up easily to modern distractions. Besides, it is abundantly clear they don't need passive entertainment.

The ceremony to reconcile the mother and calf includes primitive music by a teacher and impressive solo singing by a young woman. No one could possibly turn to TV while watching this transcendent act. `Whale Rider's' heightened sense of the magical in the mundane and the unbelievable bond of young and old is the only other recent film I can think of to approach this film's simple power.

`The Story of the Weeping Camel' is as slow as the culture it shows, so be cautious about bringing restless city children. The story lingers on the actual birth of the white calf, possibly disconcerting to the younger, inexperienced members of the audience. Then why do the film's characters get such joy out of the minor warnings I just gave? It is their life, as blessed and happy as any you will see on film or anywhere else on earth.

The camel's soulful cry in the vast desert will stay with you. As Lafcadio Hearn said, `If you ever become a father, I think the strangest and strongest sensation of your life will be hearing for the first time the thin cry of your own child.' And that goes for the mother's cry as well.

A beautiful film out of time and step with a lesser world outside.

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Germany | Mongolia



Release Date:

16 July 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of the Weeping Camel See more »

Filming Locations:

Aimak, Inner Mongolia, China See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,767, 6 June 2004

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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