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Birds of Passage review: 'extraordinary, visually stunning crime drama'

5 stars

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Birds of Passage

Birds of Passage

Birds of Passage

The Wayuu tribes of northeastern Colombia could be compared to the Lakota or Apache in the sense that they took up arms against European invaders and gave them a right run for their money.

In Birds of Passage, however, the Wayuu face a more insidious foe - drugs.

Directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, it begins in the late 1960s and stars Jose Acosta as Rapayet, a sullen young Wayuu man who has his eye on Zaida (Natalia Reyes), the beautiful daughter of a tribal matriarch, Ursula (Carmina Martinez).

As Zaida’s family is a cut above Rapayet’s, he’s asked to supply a formidable dowry. Desperate for money, he hears about how Peace Corps Americans are looking for hash, and becomes a supplier.

But as this lucrative trade blossoms, its corrosive influence begins to pull the old customs apart.

This extraordinary, visually stunning crime drama pits tradition against greed, with predictable consequences.

(No Cert, IFI, 129mins)

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