Overland Image


By Bradley Gibson | April 29, 2021

If you didn’t know falcon racing is a wildly popular sport in the UAE, then join the club; you are in good company. Falconry in the UAE represents core Bedouin values of courage, honor, and nobility, as well as the virtues of patience, willpower, and companionship, in the context of the bond between man and bird and the fellowship of the elite company of other falconers. In another part of the UAE, there’s a posh falconry hospital more beautifully appointed and staffed than many facilities for people. When Khalifa Bin Mijren wants to hunt with his hawks, he and his crew must take them out of the UAE, where it’s illegal, and they do so on a specially fitted private jet. This part of the world is serious about their birds.

“…triumphs wildly in surprising and incredible ways.”

The lives of raptors are structured, focused, such that they have a strict progression to successful development and a clear goal for life as a predator. These values carry over to their human counterparts. It seems more like the birds train their humans than the other way around. Falconry has been with us almost as long as civilization. Beduin and other peoples depended (some still do) on the birds to hunt and feed the tribe. The poet Yeats starts his poem The Second Coming with a warning about becoming disconnected from nature, and falcons are the object lesson:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

The human subjects in the film are interesting, more than you think they’ll be, but the real stars are the eagles, falcons, and hawks portrayed. Nature documentaries tend to focus on reconnecting a city-dwelling, tech-addicted populace with the natural world, with varying degrees of success, but Overland triumphs wildly in surprising and incredible ways. Creatures that hunt airborne are the pinnacle expression of the food chain in our world. The purity of the relationship between predator and prey, along with the merciless rigor of flight, brings into sharp focus the true nature and mechanics of life on earth. The compelling story of raptors and their companion humans presented in breathtaking footage is one of the most unexpectedly thrilling and satisfying cinematic adventures you’ll have.

Overland (2021)

Directed and Written: Elisabeth Haviland James, Revere La Noue

Starring: Khalifa Bin Mijren, Giovanni Granati, Lauren McGough, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Overland Image

"…the real stars are the eagles, falcons, and hawks..."

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