- Issue March 18, 2017
Review: Eagle Huntress
By Uwera Nina Ntaganzwa
The Eagle Huntress is a compelling documentary that celebrates girl power. Narrated by Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, The Eagle Huntress tells the story of a 13-year-old Kazakh girl from Mongolia, Aisholpan, her desire to carry on her nomad family’s eagle hunting tradition in addition to her hopes of becoming a doctor. In spite of strong opposition and the disapproval of patriarchs in her community who believe that eagle hunting is solely for men, Aisholpan’s father and grandfather believe otherwise, and therefore support and encourage her.
Aisholpan spends a lot of time with her father and her exposure to eagle hunting sparked her interest. As he helps her capture her own eaglet, train golden eagles in the extreme Mongolian winter, and win a competition at an annual eagle festival where she is not only the youngest but also first ever female hunter to participate, the documentary goes beyond celebrating girl power to celebrating family, parents’ pride and father-daughter relationships. Nonetheless, the focus throughout the documentary remains on our new heroine’s journey to becoming the first eagle huntress in her family, community and in Mongolia.
Set in the aesthetic Altai Mountains in Mongolia, the documentary features stunning visuals, a captivating narration and best of all, an amazing soundtrack featuring Sia’s ‘Angel by the wings’ which sets the tone and strong emotional appeal. It’s hard to hold tears back watching a young girl decide, for herself, to break stereotypes and preserve her family’s tradition with Sia’s beautiful voice singing “You can do anything.” It is a rare source of inspiration.
There are many films, movies, and stories celebrating women today but young Aisholpan’s story is truly a gem. Aisholpan is a natural, a strong young girl breaking gender barriers and norms; she is a dreamer, an ambitious and brave one, and her self-surety is for me, true girl power and The Eagle Huntress successfully celebrates that.