|Mikael Kristersson||Director,Cinematographer,Producer,Screenwriter,Sound Editor,Sound/Sound Designer|
Kestrel's Eye available in DVD
Swedish filmmaker Mikael Kristersson directs this austere yet beautiful experimental documentary about two European falcons. Shot over the course of two years, Kristersson manages to fashion a narrative without the use of voice-overs or music, showing the falcons as they forage for food and tend to their eggs. Much of this film, though, is spent viewing the world from the falcons' vantage point -- high up on a 13th century church steeple, watching the groundskeeper tending to the village cemetery and the choir boys growing tired of a long religious procession.
|Source:||First Run Features|
Director interview & bio; Trailer gallery; Chapters
This is a very barebones approach for a nature film. There is no narration or music at all, simply the footage of the kestrels and their surroundings. There isn't even an FBI warning or introduction, the footage just abruptly starts. The content is neither good nor bad, it just is. It's a little bit like watching the footage that animal behaviorists use in their studies. Sometimes it can be a little boring, but if you really want to study falcon behavior then you might enjoy it. To give you an idea of what the footage is like, it goes something like this: You see a man walking around in the church graveyard. Then you see one of the kestrels sitting on the church watching him. You go back to watching the man walk around the graveyard. A person across the street gets into their car and drives away. You see one of the kestrels sitting on the church bobbing its head. You see a few children playing in their backyard nearby. You go back to seeing one of the kestrels up on the church vocalizing. You watch a group of people jog by the church. One of the kestrels flies off and you watch him fly around and hover until he catches a mouse. You go back to seeing his mate sitting on the church. You watch the female preen. The male returns and gives the mouse to her. The female eats it. One of the kestrels vocalizes. The female walks into their nest hole. The footage suddenly cuts from winter to spring. You see and hear a human marching band go by on the street. You watch a person being buried in the graveyard below. You see the male kestrel sitting outside of the nest. You watch a man blowing leaves in the graveyard below and then listen to him talk on the phone. You see the female kestrel sitting on a wire looking around. The male kestrel vocalizes... And on and on like that. Because the footage is so simplistic, it can move slowly sometimes. You definitely have to be in the right mood to watch it. The best part for me was watching the babies grow up. I was a little disappointed that they didn't show what happened to the babies, that they didn't follow them at all after they fledged. The movie abruptly ends as soon as the babies take their first flight (which is just from the nest to a ledge a few feet away). It seems like a lot of the time that was spent early on in the movie showing nothing happening (ex: the adults sitting on a ledge looking around) could have been replaced with footage of what happened to the fledlings. This movie is definitely not for everyone. It's not bad exactly, but a lot of people may find it boring and anti-climatic. There is no real suspense or storyline, and the way the camera never stays on any one bird for very long makes it seem a little fragmented. Overall I think this movie is best suited for someone who wants to study kestrel behavior in detail. If you're not interested in scrutinizing every second of a kestrel's movements, then you should probably buy a different nature film. If, on the other hand, you ARE interested in seeing what a kestrel does all day long in the wild, then you'll enjoy this movie.