Birds of Passage (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Birds of Passage
Birds of Passage.png
Teaser poster
Directed byCristina Gallego
Ciro Guerra
Produced byCristina Gallego
Katrin Pors
Screenplay byMaria Camila Arias
Jacques Toulemonde Vidal
StarringCarmina Martínez
Natalia Reyes
José Acosta
Music byLeonardo Heiblum
CinematographyDavid Gallego
Edited byMiguel Schverdfinger
Blond Indian Films
Ciudad Lunar Producciones
Pimienta Films
Release date
  • 9 May 2018 (2018-05-09) (Cannes)
  • 2 August 2018 (2018-08-02) (Colombia)
Running time
125 minutes
Box office$449,493[1][2]

Birds of Passage (Spanish: Pájaros de verano) is a 2018 epic crime film directed by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego. It was selected to open the 50th edition of the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4] It was selected as the Colombian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards,[5][6] making the December shortlist.[7]


The film chronicles a Wayuu family's rise and fall during the early days of illegal drug trading in Colombia.[4] Spanning the late 60s and 70s, the film is divided into five chapters ("cantos"): Wild Grass, The Graves, Prosperity, The War and Limbo.[8]


  • Carmiña Martínez as Úrsula
  • Natalia Reyes as Zaida
  • José Acosta as Rapayet
  • Jhon Narváez as Moisés
  • Jose Vicente Cotes as Peregrino, Rapayet's uncle
  • Juan Bautista as Aníbal
  • Greider Meza as Leonidas


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 55 reviews with an average rating of 7.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Birds of Passage traces the familiar arc of the drug crime thriller from a different direction that's as visually absorbing as it is hard-hitting."[9] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[10]

Some critics have compared it favourably to other crime saga films like The Godfather, Scarface and the television series The Sopranos. Indiewire's Eric Kohn awarded the film a B+ rating, calling it "another fascinating tone poem about Colombia’s fractured identity".[11] Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian gave a positive review of the film, writing "in the most reductive way, it is another mafia story. But as with their previous film (Embrace of the Serpent), it is the specificity that counts, and while certain genre tendencies prevent the narrative from truly unmooring, hardly a scene goes by without something fundamentally familiar being rendered in a unique fashion".[12] Variety's Peter Debruge wrote that "few films have captured quite so powerfully the tension between the old and new worlds — a feat “Birds of Passage” accomplishes while simultaneously allowing audiences to channel the Wayuu’s surrealistic view of their surroundings, where spirits walk the earth, and wise women interpret their dreams".[13] Jessica Kiang of The Playlist stated the film was "wildly alive, yet it reminds us that no matter how modern we are, there are ancient songs our forebears knew whose melodies still rush in our blood". About the Wayuu people depicted here she wrote: "the Wayuu here are neither exploited innocents nor backward savages, but flawed humans indulging recognisable human instincts of greed and rapaciousness... You do not have to have Wayuu ancestry, or any connection to the region to understand the broader implications of this epic story of haunted druglords and ruthless power grabs that are partly predicated on traditional beliefs and shibboleths".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birds of Passage (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "Birds of Passage (2019)". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  3. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (17 April 2018). "Cannes: Directors' Fortnight unveils 2018 line-up". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b Keslassy, Elsa (17 April 2018). "Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lineup Boasts Colombia's 'Birds of Passage,' Nicolas Cage in 'Mandy'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Colombia eligió las películas que representarán al país en los premios 'Goya' y 'Oscar'". El Heraldo. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  6. ^ Erbland, Kate (29 August 2018). "'Birds of Passage': Colombia Selects Cannes Breakout as Foreign Language Film Submission — Exclusive". IndieWire. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Academy Unveils 2019 Oscar Shortlists". The Hollywood Reporter. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b Jessica Kiang (23 May 2018). "Ciro Guerra & Christina Gallego's 'Birds Of Passage' Is A Colombian Crime Saga Masterpiece [Cannes Review]". The Playlist.
  9. ^ "Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Birds of Passage Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ Eric Kohn (9 May 2018). "'Birds of Passage' Review: A Violent Crime Saga in the Desert from the Director of 'Embrace of the Serpent' — Cannes 2018". Indiewire.
  12. ^ Jordan Hoffman (9 May 2018). "Birds of Passage review – Ciro Guerra takes the mob epic to tribal Colombia". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Peter Debruge (9 May 2018). "Film Review: 'Birds of Passage'". Variety.

External links[edit]