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This spellbinding documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. Through breathtaking aerial cinematography and intimate verite footage, the film captures her personal journey while also addressing universal themes like female empowerment, the natural world, coming of age and the onset of modernity.
Not only does this film trace the remarkable achievements of the teenage girl Aisholpan who handles very major challenges in achieving the goal of becoming the first female ever to become a successful hunter using the eaglet she has trained from a nestling, but it also portrays the life of Kazakh nomadic herders in the Altai region of Mongolia better than any of the other Mongolian herder films I have seen (even the Weeping Camel, which was also outstanding). I have travelled in this area of Mongolia and the adjacent part of Xinjiang in China - it is a very tough environment for the people who live there, and making such a technically difficult film must have been extraordinarily challenging. The scenes where Aisholpan captures her eaglet and where the eagle catches its first fox are breathtaking, and the scenes showing the interactions among these very traditional people of the Altai region are so totally realistic the film makers must have established very good relationships with them first.
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