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'The Story of the Weeping Camel'
To Screen at UW-Eau Claire Dec. 2-5

 MAILED:  Nov. 16, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — "The Story of the Weeping Camel" — a documentary-style drama that tells the story of a tribe of shepherds, their animals and their simple dependence on each other — will screen Dec. 2-5 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Directed by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni, the 2003 film will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Set in the vast expanses of the Gobi Desert , "The Story of the Weeping Camel" follows the adventures of a family of herders who face a crisis when a mother camel rejects her newborn calf following a particularly difficult delivery. Without its mother's milk the little camel will not be able to survive, so, in accordance with an ancient ritual, a musician from a distant village is summoned to perform a ceremony that is believed to coax the mother into nursing her baby. Apart from reuniting parent with child, legend has it that the ritual also has the miraculous effect of causing the mother to weep.

Produced in association with National Geographic, the film "essentially lets native people tell their own unforgettable story," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is what film is meant to do: Expose us to incredible people, places and stories we would never know otherwise."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it "a gorgeously filmed tale. The real stars are the gentle Seussian camels, who offer emotive performances. Really!"

Exploring a distant culture in which tradition, myth and family unity (both human and animal) are essential elements of daily life, "The Story of the Weeping Camel" is directly inspired by the techniques of Robert Flaherty ("Nanook of the North"). Employing a non-professional cast who actually live the life and events depicted, the film combines unstaged, unrehearsed sequences with carefully prepared re-creations of authentic experience — combining the best of fictional and documentary techniques in order to capture for the first time this all but vanished way of life.

In Mongolian subtitled in English, the 90-minute film is rated PG for some mild thematic content.

Tickets are $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire Students at the University Service Center in Davies Center 's east lobby, (715) 836-3727. The film is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
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Updated: November 15, 2004