Film Review: Pecking Order

There’s nothing like a bit of competition to get the blood flowing. It’s an area where documentaries often come into their own. As humans, we’re determined to win, whether were competing in spelling bees (Spellbound), arcade gaming (King of Kong), competitive tickling (Tickled), ballet (First Position or karting (Racing Dreams). However, you’re unlikely to meet a more cantankerous, driven or just plain lovely bunch as the chicken breeders in Pecking Order.

The Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club (although the less said about the pigeon fanciers, the better) are in crisis. At 148 years old, it has a grand and rich history. However, apparently chooks aren’t top of the list of priorities for today’s youth. Acting president Doug Bain is determined to keep the club together but he’s under pressure from the evil Ms Steinke, ‘young’ upstart Mark and Mark’s talented son Ryan. And all this in the run-up to the Nationals.

Pecking Order is a charming, funny and bizarrely fascinating documentary about game competitors, fowl play and poultry rewards. Director Slavko Martinov introduces us to a lively bunch or amiable Kiwi characters and their beloved birds. There’s heated rivalries, deep-seated grudges and long memories. As always with these kind of films, it’s the personalities which shine through. Pecking Order is a wonderful doorway into a world you would never know existed.

Pecking Order is in cinemas from Friday 29 September.

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