Pecking Order

Pecking Order

(2017)

Feathers will be ruffled.

The unusual world of competitive chicken breeding between Kiwi farmers is revealed in this comedic documentary.... More

Join members of the 148-year old Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in the lead up to the NZ National Championships, as they battle history (and each other) in their quest for glory. Meet Doug, the determined Club President; Rhys, the young upstart; Sarah, the chicken whisperer; Ian, the exacting judge; Mark, the voice of reason; and Brian, the loveable champion.Hide

Flicks Review

Taking us inside the legacy of New Zealand poultry pageantry, Pecking Order shows us people, and chookhouses, you’d never otherwise see on screen. This is a world of faded Canterbury rugby shorts, missing teeth and free promotional Farmlands caps, and it’s bloody charming one indeed. The chicken enthusiast subjects span broadly, from young mulleted Rhys Lilley to grizzled veteran and author of The New Zealand Poultry Standard - which is a real book - Ian Selby.... More

Unsurprisingly, there’s the odd golden character whose disarming sincerity could be lifted from any of Christopher Guest’s greatest works. “It’s like alcoholism,” explains one of the judges, “you can’t give it up… it’s hard on the families.” The chickens do look magnificent, and we're privy to their jaw-dropping beauty routine including hazelnut diets, laundry sink baths and blow waves. The stunning chook shots are well-balanced with bleakness, such as an old man eating greasy KFC with his fingers.

Pecking Order has all the right ingredients to make a delicious documentary omelette, but it still comes out slightly undercooked. There’s a political subplot around the presidency of the poultry club that begins like an episode of The Office, but starts to wheeze. Distracting title cards occasionally crash in to break up the pageant prep, which gives it the odd vibe of a disjointed Neighbours at War episode rather than a first prize film. Still, there’s nothing Kiwi audiences like more than scratching and pecking around to unearth the perfect local eccentric, and Pecking Order provides a fair few.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 30 ratings, 34 reviews
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This movie is hilarious and a little poignant in parts. It's quite enlightening to see a different side of life for some people and their zealous interests. "Regular" folk may not believe this is a surprisingly true to life doco. I belonged to a fish, aquarium & water garden society for years. It too eventually <<>> died like this club may. A must see movie.


BY heykuri nobody

This movie captures the world of bird fanciers beautifully. On several occasions, along with the audience, I laughed out loud, but then realised what the chicken fancier was saying, was deadly serious. It's their world and what they love, so I felt a bit bad laughing at them. However, I also feel privileged for the birds-eye view of their community.


BY HansNZ nobody

There are so many layers to this Kiwi gem, that reward repeated viewings. There's every chance this will become a kiwi classic. Here and overseas.


Best in show - but chickens. A hilariously quirky film delving into a very niche world of competitive chickens - and the tense relationships that are set to rip apart the local breeding club. I enjoyed every moment of this film, and thought that while incredbily funny, tackled the subject with care and sensitivity. It was laugh out loud at moments, cringy akward in others. The whole cinema seemed to enjoy it, and I would highly recommend this film. Absolutely. Poor Doug.


BY albabe nobody

Great acting and a fabulous N.Z film. Some very funny scenes.


Showing 5 of 34 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

  • A key to the success of Pecking Order is that director Slavko Martinov plays it straight, never undercutting his subjects for the sake of a cheap giggle. Full Review

  • It's a revealing look at those who put themselves into committees and others' politics. Full Review

  • There's more to this film than a tribute to Best in Show with chickens, this is a film about Kiwis being Kiwis, delivered thought the portrayal of a club in disarray and all the wonderful human-ness and drama it brings with it. Full Review

  • This is an affectionate crowdpleaser which should feather the nest for international festival programmers, coming home to roost in specialised play and plump terrestrial TV buys in the English-speaking marketplace. Full Review

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