Movie Review: Birds of Passage
We often think of our environment in very black and white terms; if we can’t see or touch something, we may forget it exists. This film asks us to view the world from a more mystical perspective, considering intangibles like faith, ancestry and tradition that dramatically impact our lives.
Directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, Birds of Passage takes place in the 1960s and ‘70s as the drug trade in Colombia is ramping up. It contrasts the bloody banality of traffickers’ activities against the highly spiritual nature of the native Wayúu people. Rapayet (José Acosta) is a young man who cares about raising a family based on tradition, but he also wants to make money selling marijuana. His character development seems to parallel the expansion of the drug trade and the increasing violence that goes with it.
My favorite character is Peregrino (José Vicente Cotes), Rapayet’s uncle, who fills the important ceremonial role of ‘word messenger’ for the Wayúu. He’s a protected, revered member of the clan, responsible for communicating messages and warnings between families. I also enjoyed Ursula (Carmiña Martinez), Rapayet’s mother-in-law, an elder who is in tune with ancestral spirits and the earth’s mystical power.
Should you see it? Yes, it’s very thought-provoking. – J.J.