Birds of Passage
Stars: Carmiña Martínez,José Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Natalie ReyesCo-helmed by his partner Christina Gallego, Ciro Guerra’s follow-up to the striking, hallucinatory debut ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ chronicles the nascent Columbian drugs trade through the eyes of the indigenous Wayuu people. It begins with a colourful ceremony in which the beautiful Zaida (Reyes), the daughter of the local matriarch Ursula (Martinez), is celebrating her adulthood. An ambitious young coffee and alcohol smuggler Rapayet (Acosta) asks for her hand, but the price Zaida’s uncle demands proves too much. Then, while on a trip, Rapayet and his hot-headed partner Moisés(Narváez)see a business opportunity when they encounter some American hippies looking to score some marijuana. Rapayet and Moises go into the drugs business, the expansion so rapid that they soon relocate from tribal huts to an ornate guarded mansion. All the while Ursula looks on disapprovingly as Wayuu traditions are defied. The picture features some striking hallucinatory visual flourishes, with Guerra trading in ‘Embrace’s’ pristine black and white visuals for vivid splashes of colour, and the depiction of Columbian indigenous culture is genuinely illuminating, but beneath the magic realist touches and striking imagery, sometimes redolent of fellow South American visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky, is a rote tale of the rise and fall of a drug kingpin.