Sunday, October 9, 2016

Movie Review: "The Eagle Huntress" (SDiFF 2016)

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Movie"The Eagle Huntress"
Director: Otto Bell
Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

A 13 year old girl breaks a centuries of tradition to become the first female Eagle Hunter. 

"The Eagle Huntress" is directed by Otto Bell. It tells the story of Aisholpan, a 13 year old Mongolian girl who wants to be an Eagle Hunter. This practice is a large part of the culture of the nomadic people of Mongolia. It is a tradition passed on from father to son and has been so for generations. Aisholpan is the first female to attempt to become an Eagle Hunter. Aisholpan is trained by her father and supported by her family, though some older male members of the community aren't so supportive and don't think women are capable of being Eagle Hunters because they are too weak and/or frail to handle the arduous hunting process, the weather conditions, or the extremely delicate nature of being an Eagle Hunter. Aisholpan is out to prove them all wrong.

"The Eagle Huntress" is an inspirational documentary about breaking gender barriers and overturning centuries old tradition to follow one's heart, dreams, and goals. This is a gorgeously made documentary that showcases the stunning mountains, the snow-swept valleys, and the rocky, long terrain of Mongolia. As Aisholpan and her father prepare for her entry into the local Eagle Hunter contest, she must find her own bird to train to her every move, and she must do so by climbing hills and mountains to find an eagle to make her own. When faced with the dangerous task of retrieving an eagle, Aisholpan does so with confidence and relative ease. When we get to see the bird she finds, it's abundantly clear how these golden eagles are truly majestic beings and are really beautiful creatures.

Aisholpan herself is an endearing young girl with an infectious smile and a drive to prove people wrong. She knows she has a gift and loves hunting with her eagle, even when the elders of her community make it seems like she's doing something wrong. Her father is a bold man to train his daughter in a tradition that up until now has been exclusively male. Aisholpan is brave to put herself out there and compete at the same level as those who have been doing it a long time, some for longer than she has been alive. She rises to the occasion of the competition, as well as the hunt. Despite her entry into a traditionally male activity, she still maintains her love of traditionally feminine things. She still paints her nails with her sister and always does her hair, adorning it with cute bows and braids. She simply does all of this while capturing and training eagles to hunt foxes for her and her family.

"The Eagle Huntress" is a very compelling, extremely gorgeously shot documentary that is also a sweet, touching, and moving film. It will make your heart rejoice while watching it.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~100%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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