Birds of Passage | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated NR · 125 minutes · 2019

Crime drama
As they did in their Oscar-nominated 2015 collaboration Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego take on the corruption of indigenous peoples resulting from contact with the outside world—including, apparently, being too strongly influenced by that world’s cinematic genres. Spanning 1968-1980, the filmmakers follow the story of Rapayet (José Acosta), a member of the Colombian Wagyúu Indian people, who finances his dowry for his wife Zaida (Natalia Reyes) by beginning a marijuana distribution operation. It’s not exactly a spoiler to note that getting involved in the drug trade has consequences, as the story attempts to focus on how greed and impetuousness lead these Wagyúu to violate their most cherished traditions. But while the narrative rarely lingers on mere cultural anthropology, it also winds up too immersed in clichés of gangland dramas rather than giving Rapayet a distinctive personality, with escalating vendettas leading to widespread bloodshed. Guerra and Gallego do offer some vivid imagery—notably the isolated compound Rapayet builds for his family in the middle of the desert—which at least provides a specificity of place that the story can’t always manage.
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Director: Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra
Producer: Cristina Gallego and Katrin Pors
Cast: Carmina Martinez, Natalia Reyes, José Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Jose Vicente, Greider Meza, Juan Martínez, Miguel Viera, Sergio Coen and Aslenis Márquez

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