Why I Loved this Beautiful Documentary
This documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, follows the wonderful story of a teenage girl named Ahshopan who becomes the first eagle huntress in Mongolia.
We are introduced to her at a boarding school located in a small town miles from her home. It’s the last day of school for that week and she is taken home by her father on their cute moped. Her family are nomads that live in a simple circular hut in the midst of a vast barren plain edged with beautiful rocky mountains. Her family consists of a younger sister, younger brother, her mother, and her father.
Her father is one of the few remaining eagle hunters in Mongolia. For centuries Mongolian men found eagles and used them to hunt for food to support their families. Since she was a little girl she loved watching her father put on the eagle hunters’ garb and go out hunting. As she grew older her father allowed her to play with his eagle as he saw her interest in being a hunter.
She eventually gets a baby eaglet of her own and then her journey as a eagle huntress begins. This is a beautiful story that shows both her and her eagle’s growth as a team. She faces a little bit of adversity from the male elders who believe that women shouldn’t be eagle hunters but through sheer love of the role she doesn’t let anything sway her from what she wants to do. It was nice to see her father teach her in the ways of an eagle hunter.
One of my favorite parts of the film is when her father teaches her how to let an eagle land on her arm. That scene was powerful because most people (including me) would be mortally afraid to have a large bird like that fly full speed onto your arm. This fearless girl, however, was smiling the entire time and perfectly caught the eagle on her arm as if she had been doing it all her life.
The cinematography was gorgeous. The people who made this documentary filmed it on a low budget but they did such a fantastic job with their drones and cameras you would never know. They perfectly illustrated how expansive and untouched the land was. There’s one part where they’re filming in an area where there is nothing but fields of pristine snow and ice as far as the eye can see. The quiet peacefulness of that area could be felt through the screen.
The videographers perfectly followed the eagles as they flew at all sorts of different speeds. I loved watching the eagles flying over the ground so you could really see how fast they are going. At times they also put cameras on the eagle so you can see the world from the bird’s eyes. It was a very beautiful movie to watch.
I loved this documentary because there are many cultures throughout the world where men are dominant and they don’t let women or girls achieve their dreams. Ahshopan however stepped outside of the box of what Mongolian women are expected to do and did something extraordinary. It’s also beautiful because her father encouraged her to pursue being an eagle huntress rather than stop her. This shows that the world is slowly becoming more inclusive for everyone. I definitely think this is the perfect film to show young girls because it’s empowering. A girl might watch this documentary and want to do something that she thought she could never do until she saw the fearlessness of Ahshopan.
I give it a 93 out of 100 because it does end abruptly. I came away from the movie wanting to know a little more about Ahshopan’s end story but the movie was perfect besides that. There wasn’t much music but they did integrate some here and there, the cinematography was beautiful, and I am so glad to have witnessed another piece of history being written.
If you can’t see this documentary at any nearby indie movie theaters then I urge you to watch it when it’s available on the internet. You will not be disappointed. At the end of the movie you will have laughed, cried, cheered, and enjoyed the simple beauty of Ahshopan’s wonderful journey that, thanks to cameras, has been told.