Birds of Passage
dir. Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
Thriller / Crime / International // 2018 // 125 min. // Spanish with English subtitles
Sunday, Mar. 24 1:00 // 4:00 // 7:00
SEARCY HALL, on the campus of Brevard Music Center (349 Andante Lane, Brevard, NC)
Documenting the true-to-life rise and fall of rival Wayuu clans in northern Colombia, the latest film by creative life partners Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (producer and director respectively of the 2016 Academy Award-nominated EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT) is an unexpected take on the cartel genre. With incredible attention to the detail of Colombia’s indigenous Wayuu customs, traditions and celebrations, Gallego and Guerra weave an epic tragedy of pride, greed, and the clash between the old and new worlds.
Raphayet (José Acosta) is captivated by Zaida (Natalia Reyes) at her “coming out” ceremony, and is determined to come up with the enormous dowry her mother, the family matriarch Úrsula (Carmiña Martínez), demands. The solution to his money woes appears when he and his friend Moisés (Jhon Narváez) meet up with some hippie Peace Corps volunteers who are looking for weed, an encounter that leads to disastrous consequences for all involved.
As everyone’s wealth increases, so too does Moisé’s ego, and his trigger-happy attitude annoys the Wayuu who have been suspicious of this alijuna (outsider) from the get go. When Moisés targets Raphayet’s cousin’s clan, a rapid downward spiral ensues, bringing everyone along with it.
Perfectly blending professional and non-professional actors, trappings of Western influence, and exquisite colourful Wayuu attire, Gallego and Guerra’s BIRDS OF PASSAGE is a fascinating tale of Shakespearean proportions. (Synopsis from the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival Program Guide)