Pecking Order, a Documentary About the Shadowy World of Competitive Chicken Breeding

Pecking Order is a New Zealand based documentary by Slavko Martinov, and it’s a joy to behold. The documentary follows the 148 year old Christchurch Poultry, Bantam & Pigeon Club as they prepare for the NZ National Show, where people come from all over the country (and even a couple from Australia) to compete.

Everyone in the documentary come across a little eccentric  about their passion, but at the same time totally self aware of themselves. This creates an adorably awkward cast of characters real people who represent the rural heart of gold of New Zealand.

The cast strikes me as the blueprints for a Taika Waititi character, which probably proves who good Waititi is at pinning down the average kiwi.

Drama flares up among club members as the presidency of the club comes up for contention due to a few rabble rousers among the members. You’ll quickly find yourself sympathising and becoming a little bit emotionally invested in the proceedings. Us kiwis have an odd way of coping with conflict by trying to avoid it at all costs, unfortunately this usually only leads to drawing it all out longer.

But that’s what this film is really all about. Sure, we learn about chickens and a sleepy club in the South Island but it’s really about what makes us human.

While the production level at some points looks a little gross (I’m looking at you punny chapter titles) the film still shines.

“It’s a mock-mockumentary” said Matt our resident professional with an opinion. “I’d say I wish that I had known for sure whether it was true events, because it was damn hard to tell.”

Pecking order hits New Zealand Cinemas on the 18th of May, in the middle of Chicken Month. Yeah, we have a month for chickens because they’re so dope. It’s not that weird really. The Chinese have an entire year dedicated to them.

About the Author

Izak Flash

Entertainment writer and illustrator. He holds the conch, so he gets to speak.
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