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The Eagle Huntress: Luna Cinemas Photos Bohdan Warchomij March 20, 2017

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online , trackback

‘The Eagle Huntress’ has opened at Luna Cinemas, and tells the story of Agalai, a hunter and his daughter Aisolpan, who wishes to become an eagle huntress. British advertising director Otto Bell, inspired by a photo by Israeli photographer Asher Svidensky, completes the film in a creative shaping of the story. Folklore researcher Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University says that the tradition of women as eagle hunters goes back at least 1000 years so Aisolpan is not unique in the genre. The film is thus more fiction than documentary.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Joining the crowd at Luna gave me the opportunity to meet the Mongolian community proudly mingling with regular movie goers and to photograph them in their folk costumes.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Great Escape: Mongolia’s Altai Kazakh Eagle Hunters Festival by Debbie Papyn

“Welcome to Bayan-Ölgii,” says Canat, “a strong country, for and with strong people.” Our host and the organiser of the Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival – the reason for our visit – he knows the region better than most. We are in a remote stretch of western Mongolia, about 45 miles from the Russian border, and surrounded by a barren but impressive mountain range, lightly sprinkled with snow.

A 2.5hr-flight from Ulaanbataar this is the Far West of Mongolia. The festival is typically only attended by 100 or so foreigners each year, but this may soon change. The newly released film The Eagle Huntress is providing international audiences with unprecedented insight into these people’s customs and celebrations.

The surrounding area is home to the remarkable Kazakh eagle hunters, or berkutchi, who live in simple houses or well-insulated gers, scattered across the valley and specially built to endure heavy snow. More than 100 will take their trained golden eagles to the competition.

The birds are usually taken from their nests as chicks to be trained. Western animal lovers might protest about the practice, but try arguing the point with a proud Kazakh whose ancestors have been doing it for centuries. A golden eagle lives in ‘captivity’ for approximately 40 years. The hunter grows old with his bird.

In comparison to Mongolia’s Naadam Festival (a major festival focused on archery, wrestling and horseracing that takes place in July), the Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival draws a small attendance – Canat tells us that about 1,000 locals descend from various regions of the Sagsai Valley for the event.



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