Saw The Story of the Weeping Camel with Gwen last night. This is the first Mongolian movie I’ve ever seen (unless you count Genghis Blues, which I don’t). It’s not clear whether this is a documentary or a work of fiction that just happens to be made with real events and real people who are basically being themselves. Subtitling was very minimal, telling just enough to keep the audience from getting confused.
It’s a slow-moving movie. Not much happens, and the things that do happen are small things. But it gives you a feel for what it must be like as a nomadic camel-herder living in the Gobi Desert. It’s astoundingly bleak: it’s hard to imagine that there’s enough vegetation to support the goats and camels in the flock, and it’s hard to understand how human beings came to inhabit that part of the world. But the people don’t seem to have bitter lives, or much desire to do anything different.
At one point a couple of boys head out to the nearest town; Gwen and I just looked at each other and asked “what do they steer by?”