Interior13 Cine | Release Date: February 13, 2019
7.3
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Generally favorable reviews based on 31 Ratings
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7
TVJerryMar 18, 2019
This unusual narrative chronicles the genesis of the Colombian drug trade, but not in the style or period of the mighty drug lords from the 80s. This goes back to the late 60s and explores how the marijuana trade started among the WayúuThis unusual narrative chronicles the genesis of the Colombian drug trade, but not in the style or period of the mighty drug lords from the 80s. This goes back to the late 60s and explores how the marijuana trade started among the Wayúu people. These indigenous tribes are steeped in sacred traditions and mythical culture, so their embrace of this new commercial endeavor is gradual and destructive. Instead of being loaded with drug movie tropes (although there is some of that), this film is an intimate examination of how a tribe, especially one family, is affected. It moves at an unhurried pace, basking in the customs of this world. Although there are dramatic events, their reactions are more resigned to tragedy instead of grand emotion. This film presents a fascinating look at a little-known world and does it with a measured style that's gently compelling and quietly artistic. In Spanish and Wayúu with subtitles. Expand
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8
netflicMar 18, 2019
This film is based on a true story that was taking place between 60th and 80th of last century in Columbia, depicting early days of Columbia drug business.

It is not a typical “gangsta' flic” but rather a philosophical, intense family
This film is based on a true story that was taking place between 60th and 80th of last century in Columbia, depicting early days of Columbia drug business.

It is not a typical “gangsta' flic” but rather a philosophical, intense family drama.

In the focus there are a few aboriginal tribes living their lives according to their ancestors' rules and values.

Human vices take their tall, and a traditional coffee business is being replaced with illegal marijuana trade.

We can see that within one generation people loose track of those values as influx of easy drugs money pours in, destroying their traditions  and changing their lives forever.

Given choice, most people choose modern life which undoubtably has consequences, and, combined with easy money, those consequences could be severe.

In short, this movie is classy and authentic, masterfully made.
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8
PipeCMar 3, 2019
High-flying birds.

"Birds of Passage" affords a very bold look at the brutal Colombian illegal drug trade, disregarding any pre-established reference from well-known productions such as Netflix's TV series "Narcos" or "Loving Pablo" by
High-flying birds.


"Birds of Passage" affords a very bold look at the brutal Colombian illegal drug trade, disregarding any pre-established reference from well-known productions such as Netflix's TV series "Narcos" or "Loving Pablo" by Fernando León de Aranoa; in lieu, builds a tale of hierarchies, revenge, obsession and justice on this setting, through appealing indigenous characters the story handles under the condition of narrative coherence. Plus, it takes advantage of the Wayuu tribe to unfold events as magnificently shot as told, which allows witnessing a rustic character study instead of another violence-packed drug cartel-set story, necessary ingredients, but subordinated by the surprising turns arising from every new chapter.

It deploys the routinely poisonous gangster film "rise," from challenging poverty to naked greed by means of non-indie devices re-adapted delightfully under a Colombian prism. Keeping alive the reason of his underhand glory (to win the hand of his wife), it's even more enticing to experience the corresponding fall glued to the protagonist, a loss the thickest wad of bills cannot make up for.

Screenwriting duo Jacques Toulemonde Vidal and Maria Camila Arias seem to understand well how to set up and how to keep in motion this parable by means of the personalized division into chapters or dream sequences strengthening the storytelling in critical moments. The script has a simple shell that galvanizes the audience for certain periods with unexpectedly disturbing scenes, however, if you're willing to dive in, Guerra can catch you off guard. The emulsion between '80s crime film and the director's personal vision makes it resist to define itself as a piece of art cinema, not only due to its effective twists, but its expertise leaving time to both filmmaking styles. Admittedly, violence was unavoidable dealing with three flammable components: drug trafficking, money, and betrayal. Fortunately, the script knows how to handle it with strong underpinnings, it isn't a simple entertainment incentive for moviegoers. Death is meaningful if it represents support for the story to move forward, every shot, every bullet, every blow plays a role and, nowadays, justified film violence is a gift. As a good violence-packed feature film, said scenes are used purposefully and coherently, two non-existent attributes in many indie and mainstream films. Latin American culture has been frivolously explored by film, thus, it's priceless the way the film develops, drawing together the Colombian indigenous panorama and the most aggressive narrative frenzy in order to encourage audiences to stay in. In addition to the unbending hierarchical structures most of the South America indigenous cultures are based on, the film delivers a pressing commentary through the Wayuu traditions, humanizing those who are currently marginalized by a social system resisting progress. Cinematographer David Gallego has shown me one exceptional work and other amazingly well-crafted to date: "Embrace of the Serpent" and "Siete Cabezas." One more time, he teams up with the first Colombian filmmaker ever to give his country an Oscar nomination, this time, in an entirely different location. Gallego's cinematography for his two previous productions, especially the first one, must be appreciated because of achieving visually meaningful frames with hints of magnificence is hard work. It takes advantage of coming-of-age dances, ceremonies, marriages, funerals, and folklore to let free the most creative authenticity, discreetly dominated by a grateful modesty, no bombastic ambition, on the contrary, every feature, prominently colors, matches in an effervescent way. Gallego delivers some dream pictures in this film, beautifully imposing that seize the screen, purified by glorious naturalness. Leonardo Heiblum's score is brilliant. Ear-shattering bass drums and folkloric indigenous flutes ahead, the composer captures the sounds of a culture and the story's leitmotif, fusing primitive sounds with delightful compositions that empower all the movie and causing a deeper, sharper effect in the viewer; a composer to keep an eye on.

"Birds of Passage" by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego isn't another take on narcotrafficking, is a violent, occasionally overwhelming parable that deals with such ancestral issues as justice, greed, betrayal and excesses; a vivid, bold portrait of the ghosts of a country that throws cold water on its present yet. Here another strong feature film from duo filmmakers Guerra-Gallego duo that recognizes them as tightly skilled directors and one of the figureheads of their country. This film hits hard in Colombian filmography, dealing with sensitive issues and the sins and name of an indigenous culture that deserves to be known and respected.
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8
Brent_MarchantMar 6, 2019
Though occasionally predictable and somewhat meandering in the middle, this excellent Colombian offering on the rise of the drug trade and its impact on the country's native people is otherwise well-executed on all fronts. With fineThough occasionally predictable and somewhat meandering in the middle, this excellent Colombian offering on the rise of the drug trade and its impact on the country's native people is otherwise well-executed on all fronts. With fine performances, beautiful cinematography and a nuanced though sometimes-rote script, "Birds of Passage" succeeds in telling a familiar story in an unfamiliar setting. Well worth the time spent. Expand
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8
Bertaut1Jun 5, 2019
A brilliantly made crime saga about the clash between old-world tradition and new-world greed

Unlike any gangster/drug movie you've ever seen, Pájaros de verano (Birds of Passage) is from the same team that made the astonishing Embrace of
A brilliantly made crime saga about the clash between old-world tradition and new-world greed

Unlike any gangster/drug movie you've ever seen, Pájaros de verano (Birds of Passage) is from the same team that made the astonishing Embrace of the Serpent (2015), and presents a thematically similar narrative, looking at the disintegration of an indigenous culture over a period of years; in this case, the Wayúu of northern Colombia, whose way of life is decimated by the marijuana trade in the 1970s. Written by Maria Camila Arias and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal from a story by Cristina Gallego, and directed by Gallego and Ciro Guerra, the film is partly an ethnographic study and partly a genre film depicting the rise and fall of a drug kingpin á la Scarface (1983).

Loosely based on a true story, Pájaros opens in a Wayúu village in 1968, with a ceremony celebrating the coming of age of Zaida (Natalia Reyes). When Rapayet (José Acosta) makes a claim on her, her mother Úrsula (Carmiña Martínez) assigns him a dowry far beyond his means. However, he and his business partner Moisés (Jhon Narváez) start selling weed to the local American Peace Corp, and he quickly makes enough to secure the dowry. Three years later, Rapayet and the increasingly hot-headed and reckless Moisés are flying planeloads of weed across the border, making so much money they have to weigh it rather than count it. However, as time passes, and the business grows, so too do the tensions between the various players, compounded by Úrsula's cruel and uncontrollable son Leonídas (Greider Meza).

Pájaros begins and ends with a blind bard narrating the events. Taken directly from the Homeric tradition, the presence of this figure immediately indicates the kind of story this is; a grand, folkloric tale of national significance.

Using the genre template as a platform from which to examine the clash between Wayúu tradition and the ubiquitous and corruptive nature of monetary accruement in the twentieth-century world at large, Guerra and Gallego are more concerned with the impact of the drug trade on the Wayúu than the drug trade itself. Although proud of how deep their customs run and how long they have maintained them, the Wayúu's nonconformist and isolationist ideology has never faced anything as insidious as the avarice introduced by Rapayet. Just how corruptive it is, is seen in Leonídas, a boy who has grown up amidst amorality, corruption, and crime, and whose soul is built on entitlement. In the film's most disturbing scene, to "prove" his manhood to his friends, he forces a man to eat dog faeces for money. Nothing in Wayúu history has ever prepared them for this level of barbarism.

In this sense, Pájaros is about how codes of honour and reciprocity are destroyed by greed, materialism, and mistrust. In depicting the society before the birth of the drug trade, Gallego and Guerra are trying to reclaim Colombia's history for Colombians. All a lot of people know about Colombia comes from films made almost exclusively by non-Colombians for non-Colombians (think of Americentrist films such as Blow, The Infiltrator, and American Made). The film thus has an anthropological basis, immersing us in Wayúu culture throughout and illustrating the centrality of family, the respect for the natural world, the reverence for the dead, the significance of communal ritual, and above all, honour.

The film makes its intentions known in the opening scene, which is built around Zaida's ceremony, just as The Godfather (1972) indicates its main focus with the opening depiction of a wedding. This scene is contrasted with a later one depicting a "second burial", which is surrounded by men with machine guns; a nice bit of cinematic shorthand to show us how much has changed. In another example, after doing something to anger a rival clan, Leonídas is hidden away in a hut, and Úrsula performs a protective incantation as he complains that he'd be happier if he was protected by men with guns.

In terms of problems, there are a few. For one, Rapayet is extremely stoic and very vaguely defined. He doesn't really come across as a person with an interiority, and often feels like a cypher at the mercy of what the writers need him to be at any given moment. Zaida fares even worse. Despite the opening scene suggesting her centrality, once she and Rapayet are married, she essentially becomes a background extra.

These issues notwithstanding, Pájaros de verano tells the story of a traditional culture decimated by greed. Making a powerful statement about what has been lost, Gallego and Guerra handle the integration of ethnographic study and genre film very well, with the movie serving as an excellent example of how to use genre to serve thematic ends without necessarily making a genre film. Neither a thriller with some local details thrown on top nor a documentary with a manufactured dramatic structure, Pájaros is compelling and heartfelt throughout.
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9
FeudJun 21, 2019
I love it when a movie feels authentic but also has a distinct style to it.
Pajaros de verano delivers in every way possible. The use of the unique score by Leonardo Heiblum is very deliberate and therefore extremely effective.
The
I love it when a movie feels authentic but also has a distinct style to it.
Pajaros de verano delivers in every way possible. The use of the unique score by Leonardo Heiblum is very deliberate and therefore extremely effective.
The cinematography may not be flashy, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
The gorgeous landscapes of Colombia also help with the beauty of the movie. This is the first big role of many of the actors and it doesn't show.
The character Leonidas sometimes felt a little hard to believe but the actor does a great job to make you hate him, but also sympathize with him.
Almost all of the characters aren't good people. They get consumed by greed and forget their traditions. Ursula (the mother-in-law of the main character) is on the opposite of the spectrum. She is so caught up in every tradition and superstition that she lives in a joyless world of her own. This does't stop her from benefiting from all the privileges of being the mother in law of a druglord though.
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