See The Eagle Huntress

Seems like a good idea: the accolades are endless, except for the one cynical review (bah humbug). The photos are so beautiful that I couldn’t shrink them.


One of the photos that started it all (see below)

Plot: This is actually a documentary. In the remote Altai Mountains of Mongolia, director Otto Bell follows 13-year-old Aishopan, as her father trains her to be Mongolia’s first female eagle hunter. An eagle hunter is someone who snatches up a baby golden eagle from its nest and trains it to hunt foxes and rabbits. The Eagle hunting tradition has been passed down through generations of fathers and sons. The eagle helps the hunter capture rabbits and foxes so that there is enough food on the table.

This movie is being made into an animated film.


review by Ben Murray

Spoilers skimmable? Alas, not at all.

Bottom line: it’s fantastic. “Much more than a documentary, [it’s] a work of art.”

“Stunning cinematography, the flawless and natural way the story develops like a narrative sprung from the most family friendly of Hollywood screenwriters.”

Disney? No, but “were it not set in Mongolia you would almost certainly find it hard to believe that you had not come across this story before.”

the-eagle-huntress-trailer-970x545Little White Lies

review by Rebecca Speare-Cole

Spoilers skimmable? Yes, for the most part.

Bottom line: Excellent. Crispness to the cinematography—Bell dives into eagle POV aerial shots.

A celebration of female empowerment:

The Eagle Huntress is a celebration of female empowerment, boiling down the messy, complex nuances of modern day feminism into one simple idea: women everywhere can relate to Aistolpan’s straightforward belief that it is a woman’s right to choose.

The Naysayer:

Too good to be true?

The Guardian

review by anonymous

Spoiler skimmable? Yes, if you’re careful.

Bottom line: 2/5 stars.

Cynicism deluxe: Let me paraphrase what the reviewer has to say—

They expect us to believe that passion and sheer force of will is what Aisholpan needs? And the score is “suitably exalting.” (I see sarcasm in them thar words.)

I say, yes, Mr. Anonymous, that does seem reasonable.

The crescendo:  “Whether or not the storytelling here is disingenuous, there remains a manipulative quality to the film-making that is, in the end, off-putting.”

LIES: And it doesn’t even tell the truth, points out anonymous.

Let Seattle’s weekly rag, The Stranger, explain.

yesssThe Stranger

review by Suzette Smith

Spoilers skimmable? Yes.

Bottom line: Amazing.

The truth: Standford scholar Adrienne Mayor did the research–there actually was a female eagle hunter before: Princess Nirgidma in the 1920s.

Huntress’ marketing changed from distinguishing Aisholpan as “the first female eagle hunter in Mongolia” to “the first female eagle hunter in 12 generations.”

Does it matter? Not at all: “Those revisions [in marketing] don’t take away from what’s actually important about Eagle Huntress: There are GOLDEN EAGLES that look AWESOME.”

How in the World…

father, eagle, daughter, director, mother at Sundance

…did Otto Bell discover this story? From a BBC photo essay by  Israeli photographer Asher Svidensky. (See photo above.) He had gone into the back country and stumbled upon Aisholpan and her father. Bell emailed him through Facebook and they both went to see the nomads together.

Of interest: Otto Bell filmed part of the movie in -50° and he used drones for the aerial views, as well as a camera fastened to Aisholpan herself. In fact,  on the first afternoon they were there, a camera on her captured her snatching her golden eagle from its nest. (It was not planned.)

His crew was only 3 people.

Since Aisholpan had to train the same moves over and over, Bell was able to edit them into smooth sequences.

This is his first feature. Before this, he was filming ads for an ad agency.

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