At The Club, Newnham High Street.

Admission FREE – Donations invited in aid of local causes


Friday, 26th January 2018

The Eagle Huntress

At first glance, Otto Bell’s The Eagle Huntress looks like one of those archetypal ethnographic documentaries with which Robert Flaherty kicked off the whole history of documentary film-making a century ago. Just like in 1922’s Nanook Of The North, Bell tackles a vanishing way of life – an ancient people in a harsh, unforgiving climate – and one might be forgiven for thinking it celebrates a wilful anachronism as it slides over history’s horizon. But you’d be wrong: there is enough of the new and the now to make this enthralling viewing.
Thirteen-year-old Aisholpan is the daughter and granddaughter of champion eagle-hunters. She looks after her little brothers and sisters on the land her family works in the frigid Altai Mountains of Mongolia, but mostly wants to learn the family trade of using eagles to hunt foxes for their fur, as her nomadic people have done since time immemorial. So far, so Flaherty: an ancient set of tribal skills and rituals, documented in a way that makes one vaguely suspicious that this is all being falsely maintained in its ancient forms. (Much of Nanook was staged, and signs of modernity were erased in favour of showing “the old ways”.)

But here modernity creeps in: we glimpse a motorbike, a solar panel, transistor radios, and Aisholpan herself, who wants to be the first female eagle-hunter ever. Much to the consternation of the conservative old men who govern the sport (as it is now): too weak, too young, too inept, they say, she should be cooking and cleaning.
Tell that to Aisholpan! She and her dad scale a mountain, and in one stunning sequence, capture an eaglet from its nest – a female, too – and training is under way. At the end of the summer, at the annual eagle festival, she and her eagle triumph, and the parade of bigots reappears, pulling an idiotic 180-degree about-face: “Of course it helps that she’s a girl!” It doesn’t at all, but she can’t win with these myopic old fools. And so she has to prove herself all over again, this time in the wild.
Aisholpan is such a winning character that the movie works as a kind of heroine’s quest. Alone among the men, her father and his father are behind her 100% as she achieves each goal, bearing on her tiny padded forearm a vicious predator weighing more than a Thanksgiving turkey.
And the modern appears in the techniques of the film as well: drone cameras and GoPros that do things Flaherty would envy, making the Kes-like taming of a wild beast the most entrancing thing you’ll see all week. Go for the eagle-hunting, stay for the huntress.



From an initial start at the end of September 2012, using a borrowed projector and screen we have now painted the whole end wall of the upstairs room at The Club and with the generous help of the Street Fair Committee been enabled to buy a full HD/1080 Blu-Ray capable LCD projector, our own Blu-ray player, speakers and a small mixing desk.  We have also been kindly given by Air-in-G a huge 8 foot wide transportable screen.  As with the marquees owned by the Street Fair, we will make the set up available for use in the village for other fundraising events.  In the last few years since we began showing films we have run a Gaza Benefit evening – which raised over £750, a fundraiser for Ebola victims, given money to the Football Club and Brownies, Girl Guides & Newnham Earlybirds – to mention but a few.



The start time for films shown in the evening will be 8pm.  Our usual venue thanks to Maggie and Glen is The Club in Newnham’s High Street, where you can buy a drink before, during or after the show.

Food is usually available on Friday nights, but it might be a good idea to call The Club beforehand 01594 516379

We will always be interested to know what films you would like to see or can recommend.

Under the terms of the Performing Rights Licence, we must not charge to see the film or advertise publicly.

However, we can accept donations.

Any profit will be donated to a community project in Newnham

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Paul Manning 516259 or Mike Penny 516207

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