The Eagle Huntress

The Eagle Huntress

(2016)

Witness one girl's dream take flight.

Documentary following a 13-year-old Mongolian girl as she embarks on a journey toward acceptance in the male-dominated arena of falconry. Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2017 BAFTAs. Narrated by Daisy Ridley.... More

"It seems impossible to conceive of training wild eagles, with their seven-foot wingspans and razor-sharp talons. Yet the Kazakh people have been doing so for centuries, and the practitioners in the Bayon-Ölgii province of Mongolia are the most faithful keepers of the sacred practice.

"For 13-year-old Aisholpan Nurgaiv, participating in this practice means being the first female in 12 generations of her family to become an eagle hunter. Perched precariously on the side of a mountain, with a gigantic mother eagle circling overhead, the brave girl perseveres in the face of danger and manages to capture her own baby eagle. And this is only the beginning of her adventure: under her father's tutelage, she remains tenaciously committed to the intense training necessary to her eaglet's development.

"Aisholpan's natural gifts for understanding and communication allow her to form a lasting bond with the bird, and with her parents’ support, she becomes the first girl ever to take part in the Golden Eagle Festival, competing against 70 seasoned eagle hunters. But it is only after, when she goes on a hunt, that Aisholpan will seek her true rite of passage as an eagle huntress." (Toronto International Film Festival)Hide

  • Directed by Otto Bell (feature debut)

    Written by Otto Bell

    • Adventure, Documentary, Kids & Family, Sport, World Cinema
    • 87mins
    • Rating: G
    • Kazakh with English subtitles
    • UK, Mongolia, USA

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Flicks Review

Directed by Otto Bell, documentary The Eagle Huntress tells the story of Aisholpan, a 13 year-old Kazakh girl competing to be the first female eagle hunter in Mongolia. She’s up against a bunch of crusty old guys who would much rather she stayed home and milked the goats, so it’s no mistake that Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) steps in to narrate the astounding story – another woman all too familiar with making a lot of grown men scream-cry at the changing world.... More

The momentous central task of The Eagle Huntress is aided in its gravity by staggering scenery, slow-motion eagle action that would make Attenborough weep, and perfectly timed talking heads that would give The Office a run for its money. At times, the footage can jump suddenly from sweeping, pristine mountain vistas to more shonky Go-Pro grain, but the uneven haste at which the story is captured only helps to make her journey all the more enthralling.

Capturing the calm, controlled erosion of the patriarchy in this remote, tradition-steeped corner of the world, The Eagle Huntress is a soaring testament to women everywhere who simply refuse to play by society's bullshit rules. It’s a visually exquisite film, a father-daughter love story and a must-see feminist fable for the whole family. As if that wasn’t enough, the eagles also wear funny little leather bras over their eyes that make them look like they are about to go to some kind of sexy Fifty Shades of Grey party. Honestly, what more do you want in a movie?Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • There’s a nagging suspicion throughout that there’s been more preparation for especially the set-pieces than would normally be the case on a documentary. Full Review

  • A 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl breaks a traditional role's gender barrier in this entertaining documentary. Full Review

  • You want to know more about what Aisholpan is thinking behind that shy determined smile. But that’s not her way. You can imagine her as the gutsy heroine of a Disney animation. Full Review

  • Even if Aisholpan’s training is for the camera, it doesn’t make it any less extraordinary. Especially in this remarkable environment, captured in breathtakingly crisp digital video. Full Review

  • More skilful docs get away with more ingenious cheats than this, which doggedly insists that Aisholpan is proving herself to everyone, and dangles proofs it doesn’t even need. Full Review

  • As unlikely as it is enchanting, "The Eagle Huntress" tells its documentary story with such sureness that falling under its sway is all but inevitable. Full Review

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