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Directed by Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra

Colombia, Denmark, Mexico 2018 125 mins. In Spanish with subtitles

Veteran director Guerra (The Wind Journeys, Embrace of the Serpent) teams up with longtime partner Gallego (herself a veteran producer) for the incredibly staged, gorgeously shot pre-war-on-drugs drama Birds of Passage. Uniquely structured around five songs, the film follows a declining yet well-off family sucked into the marijuana trade, led by Raphayet (José Acosta) —a kingpin with Wayúu tribal roots—and anchored by his mother-in-law Ursula (Carmiña Martínez, unforgettable) in their strongly matriarchal culture. Visually stunning and marked by a resolute need to portray the razor’s edge between cultural tradition and encroaching capitalism, Birds of Passage “offers a lesson about the destabilisation of traditional modes of life and a fascinating glimpse into a little-understood community. That the filmmakers wrap it into familiar genre territory makes it all the more impressive.” —Christina Newland, Sight & Sound. Winner, Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Original Music, 2018 Fenix Film Awards.

Filmography: Wandering Shadows (2004), The Wind Journeys (2009), Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Content warning: scenes of intense violence