The Eagle Huntress

The Eagle Huntress, a documentary, follows a strong, determined 13-year-old Kazakh girl who is the first female to become an eagle hunter. Her ancestors have used eagles to hunt for generations, but the hunters were always men. This girl, named Aisholpan, has a father who realizes her special talent and courageous spirit. So he trains Aisholpan to hunt using eagles.

Not only does he teach Aisholpan all the tricks needed, but he takes her up into the mountains for her to climb out and nab a baby eaglet because a hunter must get her own eagle herself.

The Eagle Huntress takes us into the family’s life. We see their home, a yurt in the grasslands and go to her school where she and her siblings live Monday to Friday. Then when they move to a winter house, we see life there too.

Confident and strong, Aisholpan decides she wants to compete in the regional eagle hunting competition. No female has ever competed in this event. In fact, many of the men disprove of Aisholpan’s hunting.

The film is beautiful and Aisholpan is a compelling film that can appeal to all ages.  I loved the movie and think it deserves a wider audience. While the main theme is girl power, this story of hard work and courage would appeal to all.

The Cave of the Yellow Dog

Filmed in Mongolia, The Cave of the Yellow Dog is a simple and powerful film that captured my heart. The actors aren’t professional. They’re real nomads who live in a yurt and live off the land.

The oldest daughter Nansal, age 6 or 7, returns from the city where she’s going to school and while exploring finds a black and white dog that she brings home. Her mother allows her this pet, but her father later objects. He’s worried that since the dog was living in a cave, he may have lived with wolves and could attract them. Namsal does everything in her power to keep this dog, even though wolves have been a threat to the flock, which is the family’s source of life.

The film was a marvelous look at a culture that I know little about. It’s colorful and compelling. I was amazed at how much autonomy and responsibility these young children had to look after each other and after the herd.

Many thanks to the librarians at Skokie Public Library for challenging me to watch The Cave of the Yellow Dog. I think you’d like this family-friendly film too.

If you like The Cave of the Yellow Dog, you’ll probably also like director’s first film The Story of the Weeping Camel.