Pecking Order is an appealing and entertaining documentary about the members of the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club as they prepare for the New Zealand National Show. There is no commentary - just three hundred hours of real time filming expertly edited down to 88 minutes of intelligent observations of humans engaged in their obsession and their personal rivalries.
Birds can be tenderly shampooed down and blow dried on the kitchen sink but if, at the tiny chick stage, they are seen to be of no use for competition then they are unsentimentally dispatched to "chicken heaven" by the stroke of a pen knife across their throats. Sub standard adults end up in the cooking pot. Competition worthy birds must have a perfect body shape according to the "Standards" and every feather in the right place.
The action is divided into episodes by title cards flagging up witty puns and as life in club meetings gets increasingly fractious many a feather is ruffled.
New Zealand born Slavko Martinov has shown himself to a British audience to be an exceptionally creative and talented film maker.
Pecking Order screened at EIFF 2017