(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.