The Eagle Huntress Reviews
I fell in love with Aisholpan, she is just like the school girls I see in town. Dressed in her school uniform with the huge white pom poms on the end of her braids, giggling as she chats to her girlfriends. This may be a patriarchal society, but to me it always seems to be the women that are doing all the work. Why shouldn't she be an Eagle Huntress? Society has a way of telling us what to do and what not to do, perhaps occasionally someone comes along that doesn't conform. Her father says that he sees boys and girls are equal, he is a forward looking man for Kazakhstan. You have to bear in mind that when a girl marries, she moves in to her in-laws home, and leave her family.
When I see her chapped lips I am reminded of the fishermen I see on the Ural river every day in winter after it freezes, it might be -40 some days but they are still there. These are a hardy people and very proud with it. It is definitely an environment where you work hard to live. This is exactly what Aisholpan is doing, she is working hard to live.Even as children their lives are not easy,think about it, she and her siblings spend all week away from their family to get an education because it is too far to travel on a daily basis.
This is in no way a story about poverty, this is a story about another way of life. A way of life that has been in place a long time before our Western perceptions. I giggled when I saw her collect the ridged laundry, I often pass washing in the middle of winter and wonder if it every dries.
I have had the privilege of having been allowed to have one of the eagles land on me. My desire to pet the eagle was far outwayed by the knowledge that that beak is like a scimitar. Aisholpan would have had to overcome fear to be so comfortable with her eagle. You have to bear in mind that this movie comes with subtitles, "shoo go away" would not have been what came out of my mouth if the mother eagle was circling around. Any accolades that come her way will be well deserved.
The external locations filmed are stunning, giving you a wanderlust to visit. The town featured is truly representative of the smaller towns in Kazakhstan. The score used for the film was meditative.
Should you care if it is a true documentary or not? Well that would be up to you, I however feel that scripted or not this is most likely a true documentation of what it would be like to be a nomad in the far east regions of Kazakhstan.
For me, it was an hour and a half well spent.