The Eagle Huntress


Donald and I respond unfailingly to the world of natural beauty, historic adventure and/or a combination of both. The magnificent story of a 13-year-old girl and her very supportive father in Mongolia touched us completely for its bravery, charm, stalwart characters (even the feathered ones) and a quite contemporary vision of Churchill’s “Never Give Up.”

The girl is in school getting excellent grades, which immediately shows she is “above average.” When summer comes she expresses a desire to be an Eagle Hunter, which of course is unheard of in these wild precincts because “only men” do this sort of thing. Girls are supposed to be keeping the yurt and cooking the food, etc. But Aisholpan tells her father that more than anything in the world she wants to be a Eagle Huntress and he sets out to teach her how.

There are some chilling moments for both humans and horses in the rugged and rocky mountains as they search for young eagles, find them, catch one, bring it home and train it to do its job. Beautiful filmic duets between the girl and her eaglet (think grumpy cat) bring lumps to the throat as she strokes, cajoles, feeds, loves and finally launches the bird on missions that are at first not totally successful. Both of them learn, however, that the goal is to catch and soon, Aisholpan is headed towards the all important, all conclusive Annual Eagle Festival.

The technology of this film is breathtaking: Not only the vistas and the stunning wildlife shots, but the drone cameras following the eagles and their chase. Then there are the elders in the village who sit contemplatively by their fires droning on about how girls should stay home and “can’t do this sort of thing.” Both have a veritas that has seldom been achieved in such places.

It is a suffragette film, yet extremely modern and the most enchanting aspect is that Aisholpan never, never stops smiling (even when she’s insulted by the village elders). She just moves ahead and proves her worth. Something for every Very Modern Female to remember.

It is a thrilling world to enter; there is no maudlin conclusion, just guts and glory. You have to see it to believe it!

Barbara Tober

2 Responses to “The Eagle Huntress”

  1. Thanks Barbara. Dale & I took your advice and went to the funky Lincoln Plaza Cinema to see………and loved it…..terrific film.

  2. Saw this last night with my Aunt. It is a beautiful and uplifting film. 13-year-old Aishoplan’s determination and ease with her desire to hunt was refreshingly uncomplicated; despite all the elder men’s insistence that eagle hunting is a men only pursuit. Her father, Nurgaiv believes a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she is determined, and he surely is proven right.

    It’s a documentary, but the story is so simple and Aisholplan is such a natural with her eagle that it felt almost too easy. Pop-Star Sia’s music throughout made it more commercial than I wanted, but I’m pleased that with her and some Hollywood producers promotion it is getting a wider audience.

    Go see this in the cinema if you can, as the long drone shots of the Mongolian Steppe, mountains and eagles are breathtaking.

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