Kestrel's Eye

  • 1994
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

This absorbing Swedish documentary follows a pair of kestrels — small, handsome, brown and grey falcons — over the course of several years as they hunt, eat, preen, rear their young and sit around scratching their beaks. There's no music and no narration, though the soundtrack is rich with the birds' cries and the sounds of people going about...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This absorbing Swedish documentary follows a pair of kestrels — small, handsome, brown and grey falcons — over the course of several years as they hunt, eat, preen, rear their young and sit around scratching their beaks. There's no music and no

narration, though the soundtrack is rich with the birds' cries and the sounds of people going about their day-to-day business. The kestrels' nest is in a church in the middle of a bustling town, and overlooks a small graveyard that's regularly visited by caretakers and family members. The

filmmakers intercut footage of the kestrels with bird's-eye footage of the townspeople, who go about their business blithely unaware that they're being watched. The film's genius lies in that way it lets birds be birds. They're in no way anthropomorphized, made to look cute or to serve as symbols

for the nobility of nature. They're just what they are, doing what they do. Sometimes they're surprisingly awkward; in one sequence the nesting female overbalances and tips over on her forehead while fidgeting atop a clutch of eggs. At other times there's a uncanny concentration to their

movements; one bird carefully strips the fur from a mouse and tosses it away before eating. And the shots of the birds in flight is breathtaking; they seem to stand still in the air as they prepare to drop down and pluck some unfortunate small animal from the grass.

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  • Released: 1994
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This absorbing Swedish documentary follows a pair of kestrels — small, handsome, brown and grey falcons — over the course of several years as they hunt, eat, preen, rear their young and sit around scratching their beaks. There's no music and no… (more)

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