The Eagle Huntress (2016)

Filed under: — Helen on June 21st, 2017 12:06:40 pm

The Eagle Huntress is a documentary about 13 year old nomad girl Aisholpan Nurgaiv in Mongolia and her quest to become an Eagle Hunter. This is a male dominated ancient tradition of using eagles to hunt foxes for their fur. The film boasts beautiful cinematography and brings a little known tradition to life whilst also showing incredible strength and female empowerment.

Aisholpan is trained by her Father to hunt with a golden eagle after taking an interest in eagle hunting from an early age. This tradition is normally passed from Father to Son, but Aisholpan’s Father sees no reason she cannot be an eagle hunter if she has the will and talent. As Aisholpan captures her own eagle and quickly learns the skills required to be an Eagle Hunter, she decides to participate in the local Eagle Hunters Competition. On arrival, she is laughed at by the men but she soon makes clear that she belongs there and wows the crowds with her talent as her Father looks on proudly.

Although the film largely portrays an ancient culture, Aisholpan occassionally shows signs of modernity, and not only in her belief that women can do anything men can. When she is not training her eagle, she enjoys accessorising her hair and there is an amusing shot of her painting her nails, albeit terribly.

There are certain parts of the film that feel slightly staged. For example, the scenes where Aisholpan and her father go winter hunting seem like filler but they do provide incredible footage of the eagle getting its first kill. They also successfully show the dangers of winter hunting as Aisholpan and her father at times look in real danger as their horses struggle to climb the snow covered hills. Those scenes highlight Aisholpan’s bravery as she shrugs off the danger and laughs at the near accidents.

There is a beautiful engaging soundtrack which adds to the beautiful atmosphere of the film.  The closing song of the film is an uplifting track by Sia about being able to acheive anything and although slightly cheesy, it does leave the viewer feeling great about the incredible story they have just witnessed. Daisy Ridley’s narration gets a little annoying and sometimes seems a bit pointless as she explains things that don’t really require explanation as events are being played out in front of us, but that’s a minor flaw.

The Eagle Huntress is well worth watching, not only for its incredible cinematography with aerial shots of eagles soaring and beautful scenery, but also for the beautful father daughter relationship that is the crux of the film. Aisholpan is encouraged by her Father at every stage and the look of pride on his face when she handles her eagle well is incredibly sincere and truly moving.


rating: 8

Dir: Otto Bell

Narrator: Daisy Ridley

Starring: Aisholpan Nurgaiv

author picture Helen (94 posts)
I'm a 32 year old from Leeds in England. I watch a lot of films and like writing about them.

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