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The Eagle Huntress Lands at the World Cinema Series

Monmouth’s Global Education Office will be presenting The Eagle Huntress at Pollak Theatre on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The viewing is free and open to the public. This film is a part of the World Cinema Series and it fits perfectly with this year’s theme, Women: Power and Identity.

The film follows a 13-year-old girl, Aisholpan, who trains to become the first female eagle huntress in 12 generations of her Kazakh family. Eagle hunting is an old tradition in East Asia where men train female eagles to snatch their food. Aisholpan and her family are from Mongolia, and she attempts to compete in the eagle festival at Ulgii, Mongolia.

The festival was established in 1999, and has only ever had male competitors. Aisholpan is determined to become the first female eagle hunter not only to compete in the competition, but the first in her long family line. Despite there being many old Kazakh eagle hunters who reject the idea of any female taking part in the tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, supports her. He believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she is determined.

The event’s hosts, History and Anthropology Profesor Thomas Pearson, Ph.D. and Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature Priscilla  Gac-Artigas, Ph.D., discussed what audiences can expect next week. Artigas said, “This is a film on the power of determination. [It’s] an inspiring film for young girls to dare to chase their dreams. Even if to conquer them, they have to first confront and transgress traditions that undermine people’s rights. It takes a lot of courage to do that, and the young protagonist of the film has both courage and determination.”

Pearson went into depth when he said, “We are showing five films this year that highlight the importance of women in families, communities, and nations who solve problems and break barriers, especially in traditional patriarchal cultures around the world. Otto Bell’s powerful and gripping documentary, with narration by Daisy Ridley, is a family-oriented, feel-good movie about female empowerment in the traditional, patriarchal Mongolian culture.”

He went on to say, “I am excited to show this film because 1) it is visually spectacular and must be seen on our big screen; watching it on a tablet or a television will not do justice to the tracking of the flights of the eagles and the wam, trusting rapport that Aisholpan establishes with her eagle; 2) the film is a testament to the power of family love, female empowerment, and the close kinship that this Kazakh community has with their natural environment; 3) we will have Professor of Psychology  Lisa Dinella, Ph.D., and an expert on gender barriers and adolescent development as our guest discussant, and I am confident that she will give us much to think about and appreciate with this film.”

 Pearson concluded by saying, “The Eagle Huntress is a feast for the eyes and heart.”

For those who haven’t experience a screening at the World Cinema Series, it’s definitely something you can’t miss. Pearson and Artigas pour their hearts into each presentation by making sure the audience gets the most out of each film. By watching a film on the big screen and having a dialogue afterwards, the World Cinema Series offers a one-of-a-kind experience.