Despite what many people have said, Peter Farrelly’s Green Book and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman share some disturbing similarities.
(NOTE: A version of this article originally appeared here.)
*** ½ (out of 4)
Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s Birds of Passage takes us to the Guajira Peninsula, a desert region in northern Colombia that also serves as the home of the indigenous Wayuu people. At the film’s start, a Wayuu clansman named Raphayet (José Acosta) wants to marry a fellow clanswoman named Zaida (Nathalie Reyes). Unfortunately, Zaida’s family, particularly her mother Úrsula (Carmiña Martínez), doesn’t take to him, and as a result, they demand that Raphayet pay an unusually hefty dowry. In order to meet their request, Raphayet decides to get into the drug trade – a decision that ends up carrying tragic consequences for him, Zaida, and everyone else in their community.
** ½ (out of 4)
In Roma, Alfonso Cuarón takes a break from sci-fi spectacle (à la Children of Men and Gravity) and tries to return to the small-scale roots of his early career in Mexico (à la Sólo con tu pareja and Y tu mamá también). Set in 1970s Mexico City, the film constitutes a portrait of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), an indigenous housekeeper who’s a stand-in for Cuarón’s own childhood nanny. Over the course of the narrative, Cuarón tracks the relationship that Cleo develops with the family she works for: a rich doctor named Antonio (Fernando Grediaga), his wife Sofía (Marina de Tavira), their four children, and Sofía’s mother (Verónica García).