The Eagle Huntress (U)

The Eagle Huntress (U)

Directed by Otto Bell
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 16th December 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

There are two jarring scenes in this sentimentalised and sometimes facile documentary about Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl from Mongolia, who sets out to be an eagle hunter – not to hunt eagles but to hunt with them.

Firstly, you see her and her father stealing a young Golden Eagle from its nest, positioned on a mountainside, in order to train it in their own ways. The film gives the impression that the mother eagle is circling overhead when they did so.

But this is clearly not the case. The adult eagle, a massive bird, would have attacked them in no uncertain fashion if she had sen this happening to her offspring.

Secondly, after the eagle had been trained in various hunting techniques, for example, to compete in so-called eagle contests in Mongolia, it is seen, with the full backing of father and daughter, to attack and wantonly maul and kill a wild fox in a remote region of the country. The eagle did not do so for food, and thus survive, but in the name of brutal human sport. The ever smiling Aisholpan, who quickly became tiresome, was probably grinning from cheek to cheek at this abomination of nature.

The documentary, although it has some beguiling shots of wintry landscapes (filmed by cinematographer Simon Niblett), is not helped by a lame narration by Daisy Ridley, who apparently played a role in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ and is credited as an executive producer of The Eagle Huntress. An odd choice indeed by director Otto Bell.

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