Movie Review: Pecking Order - a local hoot worth catching

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Pecking Order opens nationwide on May 18.

Pecking Order (PG, 85 mins) Directed by Slavko Martinov ★★★★ Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett.

You probably wouldn't have picked the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club as a hotbed of intrigue, politics and potential coups.

Neither, apparently, did film-maker Slavko Martinov when he set out to make a film about the cloistered and arcane world of competitive chicken breeding. But the human livestock in Pecking Order thoroughly knock the fowl off the screen every chance they get, even while it is the birds and the ribbons that Pecking Order is ostensibly about.

Martinov set his camera up at the club just as the members were in muttering revolt over the leadership of interim club-president Doug Bain. Bain, coiffed with a comb-over that threatens to blow up like a spinnaker and propel the poor man along like an America's Cup challenger, sees insurrection, revolt and pretenders to his throne everywhere he looks. Meanwhile, the disgruntled members of the committee wait like Brutus and his senators for their moment to strike.

Actually, that is laying it on a bit thick. But you get the idea.

The human livestock in Pecking Order thoroughly knock the fowl off the screen every chance they get
Slavko Martinov

The human livestock in Pecking Order thoroughly knock the fowl off the screen every chance they get

READ MORE:
'Flockumentary' Pecking Order premieres in Christchurch
Pecking Order: Kiwi poultry club doco receives eggcellent first reviews
Pecking Order: It's New Zealand's Best in Show – with chickens
Meet the stars of Pecking Order, a documentary about the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam & Pigeon Club


Pecking Order, in a droll, understated way, perfectly captures small-town Kiwi life and puts it up on screen for us all to appreciate.

Like a hybrid of the extremely good Meat (still playing, and which will make a great double-feature with Pecking Order) and 2015's The Ground We Won, Martinov's film treats its subjects with a respectful but clear-eyed sense of the ridiculous.

As Doug, Brian, Ian, Sarah, Marina and co practice their chook eugenics in search of the perfect bird to take out the silverware, Martinov's camera roams among the cages and the meeting rooms, holding up people and poultry alike to his affectionate gaze.

Pecking Order is a local hoot. Go see.

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 - Stuff

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