One of the true pleasures of a film festival is the ability to walk into a movie, know nothing about the film or the filmmakers, and walk out floored. Sometimes it leads to discovery, other times it leads to familiarity.
I was familiar with Colombian filmmakers Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s previous work, Embrace of the Serpent, and like it quite a bit. Yet, I still entered DFF41’s screening of Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) with little context or preconception. What unfolded over the next 125 minutes was nothing short of a masterpiece. An epic of gangsters, drug traffickers, and ancient ritual, captured under the hypnotic and surreal spell of Gallego, Guerra, cinematographer David Gallego, editor Miguel Schverdfinger.
It’s The Godfather by way of Luis Buñuel, an epic courtesy of Gabriel García Márquez, and is currently stream on HBO (HBO GO and HBO Now with Amazon).