The Life of Others

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Beken bringing his eagle back to the ger from the hilltop
45 minutes / Colour / 2017
Directed by
Robert McNamara

Country of production Estonia Mongolia

The film is a compilation of scenes from Kazakh Mongolian life outside of Bayan Olgii in Western Mongolia. It was made during a one month period where I lived with and filmed a group of families living in a large river valley far isolated from the nearest town. They live by engaging in transhumance, or seasonal semi-nomadic animal herding. The particular family who I lived with also practiced capturing wild eagles, “taming" them, and selling them to other Kazakh Mongolians to hunt with or more often to use in performance. The film attempts to capture the intricate everyday intimate yet violent relationship between the humans and the animals they live with, in an attempt to provoke perspectives that go beyond only the human one. The film was made as part of a thesis project for an MA degree in Audiovisual Ethnography in the Department of Anthropology at Tallinn University in Tallinn, Estonia.

In the 2019 RAI Film Fest

Language and subtitles Kazakh

Location(s) depicted A remote area outside of Bayan Olgii, Mongolia

Film web site