From the Oscar-nominated creators of ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ comes an epic, visually exquisite story about the destabilisng effect of Western influences on the familial traditions and rituals of a proud indigenous family.

Pájaros de verano
Director: Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego
Cast: Carmiña Martínez, Jose Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Natalia Reyes, Jose Vicente Cotes, Juan Martínez, Greider Meza
Duration: 125 mins
Country of Origin: Colombia

CTCStrong violence and a sex scene



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Birds of passage

★★★★ 1/2
“A breathtaking, moody, elegiac piece of work. There are ethnographic films and there are crime films. I can’t recall a film before this that does both successfully. Few times a year, I give a film 4.5 stars (never 5). Birds of Passage is one. Run, walk, crawl but go.”
Paul Byrnes, SMH/THE AGE

★★★★ 1/2
“Unbelievably beautiful. A wonderful film experience.”
Margaret Pomeranz, FOXTEL ARTS SCREEN

★★★★
“Powerful. A ­gripping combination of ethnography and crime thriller.”
David Stratton, THE AUSTRALIAN

“Fascinating. A tropical gothic tragedy of haunting power. An experience to seek out.”
Jason Di Rosso, ABC RADIO NATIONAL

★★★★★
“Extraordinary. Bracingly unique.”
Lynden Barber, LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE

★★★★
“Remarkable. Something truly original. You have never seen a gangster movie like this. It never loses your full attention or fascination.”
Leigh Paatsch, THE HERALD SUN

★★★★
“What marks this classic morality tale apart from others of its kind is the specificity of the backdrop and the observational details about the culture in which it is set.”
Vicky Roach, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

★★★★
“Remarkable. Something truly original. You have never seen a gangster movie like this. It never loses your full attention or fascination.”
Leigh Paatsch, THE HERALD SUN

“Powerful and compelling. This kind of story has been told many times before, but the potency of Birds of Passage is in the telling. It’s shot with the kind of dream-like fervour that makes seeing it in the cinema essential”
Will Cox, BROADSHEET

★★★★
“Visually arresting and brilliantly rendered. A cautionary tale about the cost of forfeiting one’s beliefs, and how the loss of culture impacts indigenous people.”
Ben O’Shea, THE WEST

★★★★ 1/2
“Bold and brilliant. Part anthropological study, part rise-and-fall epic and all-out mesmerizing, this regional spin on the “family business” saga makes you rethink the notions behind why we watch crime flicks past the vicarious thrills. Three viewings in, I’m still flabbergasted by the scope and detail of this movie; three viewings from now, I’ll probably continue to be in awe”
David Fear, ROLLING STONE

“Epic. Even as you may be reminded of other sweeping chronicles of fortunes made and souls undone by ambition and greed — your perception of the world is likely to be permanently altered. The experience made me think of some of my favourite movies, but it’s also like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A genuine knockout.”
Kenneth Turan, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Powerfully affecting; elegiac, evocative and profoundly cinematic. A paean to a lost world that combines magical realism with the epic sweep of The Godfather.”
Mark Kermode, THE OBSERVER

“Absolutely extraordinary. You do not have to have Wayuu ancestry, or any connection to the region to understand the broader implications of this epic story. Guerra and Gallego’s film is no dusty period piece, it is wildly alive, yet it reminds us that no matter how modern we are, there are ancient songs our forebears knew whose melodies still rush in our blood.”
Jessica Kiang, THE PLAYLIST

“A masterpiece. Destined to be among the year’s finest films. Exceptional in every respect, a transcendent experience that becomes far more than the sum of its individually brilliant parts. If Birds of Passage is showing anywhere in your city or town, don’t miss it. And if it’s not, tell your local theatre to request it, because films of such beauty and raw power deserve to be seen. “
Mark Hughes, FORBES

OFFICIAL SELECTION (COLOMBIA) – 2019 ACADEMY AWARDS
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION – 2018 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL (DIRECTOR’S FORTNIGHT)
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION – 2018 NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2018 BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL (IN COMPETITION)
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2018 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The highly anticipated new film from the creators of the Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s astounding BIRDS OF PASSAGE is an epic, visually exquisite story about the destabilising effect of Western influences on the familial traditions and rituals of a proud indigenous family.

Guajira, Northern Colombia, 1970s. Wayuu tribe-member Zaida (Natalia Reyes) has come of age, leaving formidable matriarch Ursula (Carmiña Martínez) with the important task of finding a suitable match. Her instincts warn her against young Rapayet (José Acosta), an ambitious man with strong links outside of the clan, but the word of his respected uncle Peregrino (José Vicente Cotes) carries weight, so she accedes, setting an outrageous dowry. The seed sown, Rapayet stumbles onto a plan with his flamboyant friend Moises and cousin Aníbal to sell marijuana to a visiting American. It’s the beginnings of a profitable new enterprise.
 
As the family rises to prominence, Ursula becomes increasingly complicit in her son-in-law’s business dealings, insisting traditional honour codes are respected and observed. But the trappings of wealth and power soon incite a war that threatens to tear them and their ancient traditions apart.

A unique sensory adventure, BIRDS OF PASSAGE, with its fascinating depiction of duelling tribal codes, rituals and beliefs, couldn’t be further removed from the time-honoured, rags-to-riches crime sagas of Western cinema. Almost mythical in its storytelling, this extraordinary film bursts with eye-popping traditional costumes and culture, an immersive atmosphere of surreal imagery, vivid sound design and glorious widescreen cinematography. It demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

MORE…

Margaret Pomeranz recommends BIRDS OF PASSAGE – Foxtel Arts Screen (3/10/19)

[Listen] Filmmaker Ciro Guerra on his epic ‘rise and fall tragedy’ with ABC Radio National‘s Jason Di Rosso (19/09/2019).

“A human drug debt” – Co-director Cristina Gallego discusses The Godfather, the powerful role of women in Wayuu culture, magical realism and working with the indigenous community, with The Australian‘s Philippa Hawker (21/09/2019).

“Director Cristina Gallego On Making a ‘Godfather’-Style Crime Story That Honours the Wayúu” – Remezcla (11/10/2018).

“‘Birds of Passage’ Directors Say They Found the Real Story of Narco Trafficking From the Women, Not the Men” – Ms. Gallego & Ciro Guerra with The Wrap (16/11/2018).

Birds of Passage