Cheerful, seemingly fearless Aisholpan Nurgaiv has been fascinated by her father and grandfather’s practice of this traditional hunting method from an early age. They’ve encouraged her interest, even though she spends weekdays at a dormitory away from the nomadic family’s yurt, due to the sparse scattering of available schools in their Altai Mountains region. Even there, she’s a tomboy who excels at athletics as well as academics.
One day her father allows her to capture a golden eagle chick (its considerable size already belying that term) from a cliffside nest. Girl and bird (the latter seems surprisingly agreeable) begin their mutual training, soon competing against some 70 much more experienced men in an annual competition where Nurgaiv is not only the youngest contestant, but also the first-ever female one. Her success there is applauded by most, but grumbled over by a few who still insist a woman’s place is strictly in the home — and that she’s still no true eagle hunter until she’s mastered the more dangerous, arduous and practical task of wintertime hunting. Which she does with aplomb. (Excerpted from Variety).
3 day rental • G • 87 min. • English and Kazakh with subtitles
"A girl and her eagle are only part of the appeal. Mr. Bell’s debut feature is a feminist fable, a coming-of-age saga, a visual feast and a love story of father and daughter."
— Wall Street Journal
"The story of a young Mongolian girl who takes up a traditionally male role in her nomadic community is heartwarming."
"In form and content, this is a movie that expands your sense of what is possible. A girl can hunt with an eagle. A camera can fly."
— New York Times
"As this inspiring documentary proves, girls can do anything, including becoming the first female eagle hunter in the 1,000-year history of her family's tribe."
— Common Sense Media
"Aisholpan is a remarkable person interacting with majestic creatures, surrounded by staggering natural beauty. It’s easy to become entranced."
— A.V. Club
"Documentarian Otto Bell traveled to the far northwest corner of Mongolia to observe Aisholpan as she tamed and enlisted the loyalty of an imposing bird of prey."
— Washington Post