Birds of Passage

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Capitalism’s relentless crushing of all cultures hasn’t left director Ciro Guerra’s mind since his critically acclaimed 2015 film Embrace of the Serpent. With Birds of Passage, he and his wife Cristina Gallego shift from the Amazon to his native Colombia for a story of a family spiraling out of control when tradition clashes with the drug trade emerging in the 1970s. The snowballing chain of events is damning and the character arcs are developed to their furthest dramatic potential, but surreal visual style of Embrace of the Serpent is sadly missing: an epic narrative is impressive but heavy when the images rarely work to elevate it.