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