HOT DOCS 2017 Reviews: PECKING ORDER (New Zealand 2017) ***

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pecking_order.jpgPecking Order is a light-hearted documentary set in the world of bird breeding. The self-described ‘feelgood flockumentary’ canvases the personalities, power plays, fowl play and ‘best in show’ fervour of the 148-year-old Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club, as members prepare for the national championships.

Directed by: Slavko Martinov

Review by Gilbert Seah

Witten and directed by Slavko Martinov, PECKING ORDER is literally about the pecking order of chickens.

The setting is Christchurch, New Zealand – the 148-year old Christchurch Poultry , Bantam and Pigeon Club. The subject is competitive poultry pageantry as a highly entertaining hobby—it’s an obsession. For members of Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand, it’s also way of life. Among the members are Seniors Beth Inwood and President Doug Bain who have tasted the glory of raising perfect rosecomb cockerels and rumpless pullets.

Most of the members are old. But Martinov injects some fresh blood into the film with newbie teenagers Rhys Lilley and Sarah Bunton (though they do not impress me as the brightest of kids) enjoying the fun. But there appears to be trouble in paradise. Feathers start to fly when infighting breaks out in the club during the run-up to the 2015 National Poultry Show.

The film traces the change of presidency while highlighting the chooks National Show as its climax. Still the film is totally fun, shallow that it appears to be, but perhaps some of life lessons can be learnt from watching these chicken lovers. There is always something amusing when one hears chicken clucking.



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