The Eagle Huntress is a documentary that is full to the brim with girl power. Narrated by Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, the film follows Aisholpan, a 13 year old girl who is the first female to become an Eagle Hunter in her culture’s 2000 year old tradition of using these birds to hunt. The documentary sways between Aisholpan and her supportive father as they train, and older, more conservative members of the tradition who frown upon the pretence of a girl participating in such a practice.
The film stays lighthearted despite the gender biased putdowns by older members of the community, framing these men in a way that lightly mocks them whilst also hammering home the fact that institutional sexism still exists in all corners of the world and can damage the paths that children may take because of their gender.
The Eagle Huntress makes fantastic use of its setting in Mongolia, constantly providing us with sweeping shots of snow-covered mountains. It is a very stylish documentary that has a cinematic quality, focusing equally on Aisholpan’s family life and her relationship with her golden eagle. The beautiful slow motion shots that capture her training with her eagle are intercut with material of Aisholpan capturing her eaglet, training it, and facing ridicule from other members of the community. This communicates just how hard she has worked to make her dream a reality, the payoff being the chance to work with such a majestic and powerful animal.
Fun, lighthearted and gorgeously filmed, The Eagle Huntress is a documentary for all ages that shows a great and unusual adventure, and provides an important message that gender shouldn’t define who we are or restrict what dreams and ambitions we choose to follow.
DIRECTOR: Otto Bell
SYNOPSIS: 13 year old Aisholpan attempts to become the first female eagle hunter in her culture’s 2000 year old tradition.