Rural Mongolia never looked so good as in in this true-life adventure tale of Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.
Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS features some of the most awe-inspiring footage ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative.Despite that many old Kazakh eagle hunters vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined. 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. 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 really just the beginning of her adventure: under her father’s tutelage, she remains tenaciously committed to the intense training. Aisholpan forms 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.
(US / 2016 / Directed by Otto Bell)
G / 87 mins.