Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Movie Review: The Eagle Huntress (2016)


The Eagle Huntress (2016). Dir: Otto Bell. Starring: Daisy Ridley, Aisholpan Nurgaiv.

The Eagle Huntress is a beautiful, inspiring documentary about a 13 year old girl, Aisholpan, who wants to become the first female eagle huntress in her long Kazakh Mongolian lineage. Eagle hunting isn't exactly about hunting eagles; it's an ancient tradition of raising them, training them, and teaching them to hunt small game. The film follows her from the acquisition of her first baby eaglet, to her efforts to win a regional contest and then a trip through the frozen wilderness with her father, who is also her coach and mentor.

In some ways Aisholpan is a typical 13 year old; she goes to school, takes care of her little sister and paints her fingernails. She gets excited about a trip to the big city and loves to put ribbons in her hair. But she's a revolutionary, too; she knows that eagle hunting is a males-only tradition but she also knows it's in her blood, and she won't back down.

Her family are entirely supportive and her parents are her biggest cheerleaders.  Her friends are proud of her and think she's great, and her confidence radiates from the screen. She has every reason to be confident; she's really good.

The film is gorgeous with sweeping shots of the Mongolian wilderness, its mountains and forests and frozen landscapes. But the real beauty of the film is Aisholpan's energy and the love between her and her family. Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame narrates and Sia provides original music.

I highly recommend The Eagle Huntress for all ages. Look for it at an art house theater or on DVD/streaming soon.

Rating: RUSH