The Eagle Huntress
Otto Bell makes his feature directing debut with this girl power documentary narrated by Daisy Ridley. The film follows Aisholpan Nurgaiv, a 13 year-old Kazakh girl who becomes the first female eagle hunter in her family’s storied history, training a golden eagle to respond to her commands for the purpose of hunting foxes and competing in cultural festivals. Robert Flaherty’s 1922 film Nanook of the North is generally credited with creating the documentary form, even though much of the footage was staged for the cameras. In other words, there’s a long tradition of making stuff up in documentaries, so while The Eagle Huntress satisfies in the style of a Disney adventure movie, and it’s thrilling to watch the apple-cheeked Aisholpan wield her majestic bird and beat all the snooty male jerks, the pat story arcs, predictable character beats, slick action scenes and suspiciously westernized language definitely raise some eyebrows.