From director Slavko Martinov comes a quirky and unusual documentary about competitive chicken-showing, but the birds with the fanciest plume aren’t the only focus of this film.
The New Zealand-based documentary follows, over an eight-month period, the politics and drama of the members of the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club as they prepare for the national championships. But after 148 years, the club is in jeopardy. Its members won’t stop squabbling and, with few young members, the society is on its last legs.
Doug Bain is the president and a fiery competitor, but many believe he isn’t suited to his role, being too forgetful in his old age. Instead, they prefer a younger competitor, Mark Lilley: a man who keeps his head down. But Doug is ready for the struggle as he states: “If they’d like to ruffle my feathers, I’d like to ruffle theirs!”
It would have been easy for Martinov to make fun of the whole spectacle, but instead he approaches it with dignity and understanding. Everyone has an obsession and it just so happens that for the Christchurch Poultry Club lot, it’s chickens.
The members are humorous, eccentric and passionate about poultry, resulting in a funny hour and a half of feathers and mayhem as they struggle against one another for the top perch. From a 14-year-old boy, refreshingly unashamed of his love for these birds, to a toothless, joke-cracking chicken breeder, the endearing stars of the film keep the audience laughing. By the end it’s hard not to feel fond of them.
Pecking Order is a cracking documentary and an entertaining glance into the lives of NZ chicken fanatics, and viewers will find themselves hoping these characters can find a way to save their club. As one young competitor puts it: “There aren’t many people interested in chickens when you think about it.”
Pecking Order is released nationwide on 29th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for Pecking Order here: