‘Birds of Passage’ Review: The Tragic Early Days Of The Columbian Drug Trade

In 1960s Columbia, the Wayuu family are going to get involved in the newly emergent drugs trade. As the business tears it’s claws into the family, they must find a way to reconcile their family traditions with their newfound wealth and power.
Much of Birds of Passage is a conventional mafia story. Its a rise and fall of a powerful family. What’s fascinating is the impact of the beliefs and customs of the Columbian people and how they impact on their criminal activities. The film explores the ways in which tribes engage in, and avoid war, with each other.
It’s a bloody tale with lots of betrayal and murder, but it’s also deeply personal. It’s the story of one community torn apart by the violence and greed the drugs trade bring. This contrast is best exemplified by the ultra-modern home the family build in the middle of the wild desert. The people experience visions of the dangers to come in gorgeously shot dream sequences. A black-footed bird is a recurring motif; padding menacingly through the family home.
Birds of Passage is a gorgeously shot and richly detailed Crime Thriller. It brings tragic new life to the traditional rise and fall narrative.
Four Stars
Birds of Passage will be premiering at the London Film Festival. Full details here: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/

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