Unfolding in the Guajira desert in the 1970s, the film follows a Wayuu indigenous family who takes a leading role in the origins of the Colombian marijuana drug trade, discovering the perks of wealth and power, but with a violent and tragic downside.
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Guerra and Gallego have followed up what is by all accounts a pretty trippy b&w art film w/ something that at least hints at the commercial (whilst remaining arty). BIRDS OF PASSAGE would seems to capitalize on the current popularity of Latin America-based narco narratives. Fundamentally a film about toxic pride, it represents indigenous communities without resorting excessively to trite mysticism or ethno-pageantry.
Really wanted to like this more, being a huge Serpent fan. Things start out promising with daring music and engaging characters before veering into more well-trodden 'gang implodes' territory in the middle, at times edging into unintended caricature. The cultural and ethnographic elements were fascinating but too often sacrificed to the shoe-horning of the more rigid cinematography and staging and posturing. 3 stars
Transcendent in places. Loved the first half. But given the director's wish to eschew the way the Colombian drug trade is represented in US movies, I was frustrated that many plot points seemed ripped from American drug movies like Scarface and The Godfather: The good-guy sucked in by greed, the hothead friend, the killing of a brother, the family imploding, the eventual ruin...All familiar
This is a dramatically intense, as well as anthropologically revealing, film about the chain of entanglement between tribal rituals, antiquated honor codes, matriarchy and global drug trade. Generally finely acted it has moments of visual flair in the landscape shots; yet its limitation is the oscillation between a crime film and an anthropological essay. It does not fail in any of the two but is no triumph either.
I couldn’t help but imagine what a Hollywood version of this story might look like--focus on the blood and body count. Yes, this is the story of a drug war, but deaths here are mourned not tallied. Yes, there are some gaping plot holes (wait, he was just at Point A, how is he at Point B already?) but those fall aside with the kind of magical realism you’d find in a Marquez novel. A worthy take on a familiar trope.
Sin riesgos: una película que deambula fácilmente por lo que aparentemente propone. La repetición de códigos "cinematográficos" que ya nada dicen, convirtiéndose en no otra cosa que predicciones; no obstante, bajo unas supuestas novedades (la cultura wayú, en especial) que funcionan como un fondo intercambiable, desinteresado, sin fondo. Para añadir: ¿Cómo explicar esos sueños sin alma...?¿La desconexión del espacio?