April 16, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

“Birds of Passage” is a Must See

“Birds of Passage”
Not Rated
125 Minutes
Released February 13

Directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, a husband a wife team, had worked together on the movie Embrace of the Serpent in 2015, a story about the relationship of an Amazonian Shamaan and two scientists searching for a sacred healing plant. Embrace of the Serpent won a nomination for Best Foreign Film Oscar. That success allowed them to finally pursue their passion project, “Birds of Passage”. Both films feature “Western” cultures extracting natural resources from South America.

In “Birds of Passage” the subject is the treasure of marijuana that draws outsiders to territory occupied by indigenous tribes. This story takes place in the Guajira Peninsula of northeastern Colombia near the border of Venezuela.  “Birds of Passage” is the term that the indigenous people of this area have for drug runners who arrive, take what they want and leave behind a community in ruins.

This award-winning epic film begins and ends as a plaintive minstrel’s song, which is the manner in which history is memorialized in the Wayuu culture, the Native American ethnic group who live in the Guajira Penninsula. Women are revered for their wisdom in their culture and play a powerful role in the social structure.

This tragic story is very important and I hope will be seen widely by audiences, lest we lose sight of the essence of our souls. It echoes John Steinbeck’s classic, “The Grapes of Wrath,” in style. The story is told almost entirely in the Wayuu language, with subtitles. The film communicates to worldwide audiences easily as this language is very rhythmic and the narrative is told visually through the characters’ faces and actions. The Wayuu language is actually part of the Maipuran or Awarak language family predominant in parts of the Caribbean islands.

For each of the cast, with the exception of Natalia Reyes as “Zaida” and Carmina Martinez as “Ursula,” this film was their first work as an actor and almost all the actors are real members of the Wayuu tribe. The striking visualization of key turning points in the drama is shown in vivid and stark detail. The landscape and living conditions of the world of the Wayuu are beautifully captured on camera by cinematographer David Gallego. The world is shot from the “Point of View” of the tribe. The transformations that happen to the tribe’s lifestyle and to the personalities of its members, as they amass wealth from the transport of the drugs, is shown with great depth and nuance.

The true premiere of “Birds of Passage” was arranged for the Wayuu themselves in their own territory, in a central square. Thousands journeyed there to see this premiere. The tribe members became the first audience to give a positive review of this remarkable film.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

Related Posts

Film Review: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

FILM REVIEWMISSION IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONERated PG-13163 MinutesReleased July 11th The story in this “Mission: Impossible” chapter, “Dead...

Film Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

July 5, 2023

July 5, 2023

FILM REVIEWINDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINYRated PG-13154 MinutesReleased June 30th The director of Indiana Jones and the Dial...

Film Review: Past Lives

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

FILM REVIEWPAST LIVESRated PG-13105 MinutesLimited Releases June 2nd and June 9th, Full Release June 23rd The Korean concept of “In...

Film Review: Sanctuary

June 8, 2023

June 8, 2023

FILM REVIEWSANCTUARYRated R96 MinutesReleased May 19th In my humble estimation, this is one of the best movies of the year....

Film Review: The Little Mermaid

June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023

FILM REVIEWTHE LITTLE MERMAIDRated PG135 MinutesReleased May 26th With today’s technological developments, a live-action The Little Mermaid is not only...

A Riveting Revival of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning “A Soldier’s Play” Now Playing At The Ahmanson Theatre

May 31, 2023

May 31, 2023

On Stage With… Murder mysteries, whether cinematic or theatrical, are one of the most popular subjects. The list is quite...

Film Review: Chevalier

May 12, 2023

May 12, 2023

By Kathryn Boole  RATED PG-13107 MinutesReleased April 21, 2023 Chevalier is based on the true story of a historical figure...

Ballet at the Broad Stage Memorial Weekend – Meet the Talent!

May 10, 2023

May 10, 2023

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica returns to the Broad Stage with special guest artists kicking off Friday May 26th with...

Elizabeth McGovern Lights Up The Stage in “Ava – The Secret Conversations”

April 26, 2023

April 26, 2023

Play About Legendary Screen Star Runs Until May 14 At The Geffen Playhouse By Beverly Cohn Ava Gardner, born Ava...

Unconventional Art Festival “The Other Art Fair” Returns to Santa Monica This Weekend

March 31, 2023

March 31, 2023

140 independent artists, immersive installations, performances, DJs, and a fully stocked bar await visitors at Barker Hangar The Other Art...

Samohi Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” Takes the Stage in Santa Monica

March 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

Shows will take place at Barnum Hall on March 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and March 5 at 3...

Film Review: “Marlow”

February 23, 2023

February 23, 2023

FILM REVIEW“MARLOWE”Rated R109 MinutesReleased February 15th “Marlowe” is a beautifully shot period piece that takes place in the late 1930’s....

Film Review: All Quite on the Western Front

February 22, 2023

February 22, 2023

I have never been a soldier at war, although I have close friends and relatives who have been. Universally they...

SMC Emeritus Concert Band to Hold Free Concert This Weekend at the Broad Stage

February 22, 2023

February 22, 2023

Concert February 26 will feature musical selections with an outdoor theme Santa Monica College’s Emeritus Concert Band, under the baton...