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Kestrel's Eye
Kestrel's Eye
Actor: Caisa Persson
Director: Mikael Kristersson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 26min

{First Prize, 1999 Munich Documentary Festival} — {Planete Prize, 1998 Vues sur les Docs (France)} — {1998 Nordic Documentary Award, Nordic Panorama (Sweden)} — Before 'Winged Migration,' there was KESTREL'S EYE, the award-wi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Caisa Persson
Director: Mikael Kristersson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Documentary
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/20/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

May not be for everyone
M. Reeves | Fort Collins, CO United States | 02/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"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. 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."
A "must" for ornithology students & birdwatching enthusiasts
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A unique and original nature film, Kestrel's Eye is a brilliantly filmed portrait of daily life for a family of kestrels who nest in a church tower above a small Swedish town. Amazing, fascinating, "how did they do that!" angles and perspectives will fascinate the viewer throughout this one-of-a-kind, full color, 86 minute presentation. Kestrel's Eye is a "must" for ornithology students and bird watching enthusiasts!"
The Bird's Eye View
Harry Pearson | Sea Cliff, New York | 10/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an absolutely extraordinary documentary, one whose profundity creeps up on you late in the first viewing. Kristersson shows us everything from the kestrels' point-of-view, camera perched high up in a Swedish church steeple, where the birds, going about their lives, observe us going about ours. Since there is no narration, no musical cues to "tell" us how to react and no English dialog - the snatches of conversation we do hear are in Swedish - and thus, in a way, we understand only shades more than (ideally)the birds might. The intercutting between the continuous-seeming on-location sounds (church music, attendants raking the stones in the graveyard, a passing parade, runners, overhead airplanes)and the bird's (seeming) reactions to these approaches genius. You begin to sense there is a tapestry here, that of lives intertwined. And you begin to wonder if the birds might not "get" more than they are ordinarily given credit for, while we are the ones who remain mostly oblivious to the wonder of them.
Because the filmmaker is showing us the textures of the lives of the birds, there are dreamily paced segments, especially as the initial mise-en-scene is established. The pace picks up when eggs are laid in a nook in the steeple wall -- making you wonder:how ever did they get a camera in there running in what looks like real time? And the film ends, abruptly as the fledgings take their maiden voyage (a few feet), which will either leave you frustrated or wanting to know more, perhaps the real purpose. Bound to become a classic, and certainly unlike any other wildlife documentary this writer has ever seen."
A gem
E. Karasik | Washington, DC United States | 06/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film is a gentle and visually elegant meditation that simultaneously follows the activities of a family of kestrels and their view of a lovingly cared-for cemetery below their roost. The pace is slow and the only soundtrack is the ambient sounds, but there is a spare and moving beauty to this film that makes it utterly rewarding for the patient viewer. The enormous attention that the kestrel parents bestow on their brood of chicks is mirrored by the Zen-like care with which the caretakers endlessly rake and prune the cemetery plots, bringing the patterns and rituals of both nature and humans into extraordinary focus. The way that human activity is relegated to a Lilliputian backdrop to the lives of the birds is refreshing. There are also some very amusing moments as the kestrel chicks go through their "brat pack" phase, and as a bonus, my cats got a big kick out of watching!"