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Film: The Eagle Huntress

Aisholpan, in The Eagle Huntress (2016). Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

The documentary The Eagle Huntress (2016) follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who lives in the Altai Mountains in Mongolia, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of the centuries-old tradition.

While there are many older Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father (Nurgaiv) believes that a girl can do anything a boy can do, as long as she’s determined. The story begins after Aisholpan has been training with her father’s eagle for many months. Because every hunting eagle can have only one master, the time has come for Aisholpan to capture one of her own. After months of training her eagle with her father, she enters a renowned competition, the Golden Eagle Festival, and faces off against 70 of the greatest Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia.

The most arduous test is yet to come, as the rite of passage for every young eagle hunter is to take part in a hunt. Aisholpan must ride with her father deep into the mountains and endure frigid temperatures and perilous landscapes to prove she is a true eagle huntress.

Actress Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) is among the executive producers and is the film’s narrator. Like Ridley’s Star Wars character Rey, Aisholpan never doubts her ability to be as strong or brave as any boy. Though the story is about an ancient art, it is a modern and inspiring one because Aisholpan represents a world in which a young girl’s dreams—no matter how challenging—can come true.

Cosponsored by the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies at Harvard University.

The event will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway.

Free admission

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for this program is provided by the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund.