The Eagle Huntress
Broken down to its basics, you will not see a better documentary this year.
With the exception of the wildly entertaining Fantastic Beasts and Moana, none of the films released over Thanksgiving were remotely exceptional. Sliding in almost unrecognized was The Eagle Huntress, an adorable film that you simply have to see.
Based on a true story, it is a girl-powered film shot entirely in Mongolia. It concerns a 13-year-old who becomes the first female to participate in a national eagle competition, and the plot will warm your heart while the scenery will leave you enthralled.
A custom in Mongolia is for many families to capture and then train eagles as pets. It is anything but brutal or unfeeling, as these young eagles are treated like members of the family.
After being trained to land on their patron’s arm, many join the yearly competition referred to above that is attended by numerous tourists. This splendid documentary concerns Aisholphan, who tries to become the first female to enter this competition. Despite the encouragement of her father, nearly all of the men in positions of authority reject her as not possessing the needed attributes of men.
The film gives you a chance to view Aisholphan’s involvement with friends at school and her family. Warm-hearted, intelligent and driven, she follows her father’s lead to become what may be Mongolia’s first female legend.
But while Director Otto Bell’s approach to female empowerment may prove to be meaningful to everyone but Donald Trump and his closet allies, it is Aisholphan’s relationship with her eagle that makes this film so impressive. She trains the eaglet whenever possible, and the visual footage will surely make this film an Oscar contender.
Regardless, do yourself a favor and see this film. You are likely to fall in love with Mongolia, and you will be better for the experience.