Magazine article Screen International

'Birds of Passage': Cannes Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Birds of Passage': Cannes Review

Article excerpt

Directors’ Fortnight opens with a gripping story from the team behind ’Embrace Of The Serpent’

‘Birds Of Passage’

Dirs. Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego. Colombia, Mexico, Denmark, France. 2018. 125mins

A gripping saga which traces the birth of the narcotrafficking industry which gutted Columbian society, the follow up to Embrace Of The Serpent brings a fresh perspective, rejecting the overly familiar tropes of gangster movie. By exploring the devastating effect of their marijuana export business on two clans of the indigenous Wayuu community, the film serves as an allegory for the tumultuous recent history of the country as a whole. While the film is more formally conventional than Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s Oscar-nominated arthouse hit, it represents a step up in ambition in terms of scale and scope.

Likely to figure prominently on the shopping lists of distributors specialising in high quality arthouse fare

Notwithstanding the bleak trajectory down which any film about blood feuds must spiral, this is an engrossing narco-thriller which deftly balances the storytelling tradition of the Wayuu with the genre conventions of the crime movie and the western .

The project is the first that Guerra and Gallego have co-directed; on their previous collaborations, Gallego held a producing credit. This factually-based screenplay originated from a story idea by Gallego. More accessible than Embrace Of The Serpent, but crafted with the same skill and bone-deep sense of cultural authenticity, Birds Of Passage should take wing on the festival circuit after opening Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. It is also likely to figure prominently on the shopping lists of distributors specialising in high quality arthouse fare. The eye-catching blend of a crime movie with elements of something approaching magical realism should provide a seductive marketing hook.

The birds of the title have a particularly complex resonance in Columbia, being an omen which signify changing times. And over the course of five chapters or ‘songs’ - a nod to the narrative chants with which the Wayuu retell their history - which span from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s, times for the Pushaina clan of the Guajira desert lands change beyond recognition. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.