DFF Review — BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Pájaros de verano)

Birds of Passage — from directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra — is a masterpiece. Set in Colombia and spanning the years 1969 to 1980, Birds is divided into five sections, songs really, that recount the tale of ancient rituals, tight-knit tribes, and the sudden and violent encroachment of capitalism thanks to the profitability of the drug trade. Like most stories depicting the rise and fall of an empire, it begins with an attraction. Specifically, between the young Zaida (Natalia Reyes) and the bachelor Rapayet (José Acosta) at Zaida’s coming out ceremony. With a flurry of images, Gallego and Guerra invoke … Continue reading DFF Review — BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Pájaros de verano)

DFF Review — WILDLIFE

Wildlife’s signature image (seen below) is of a husband and wife pensively looking at each other across an empty chair. Momentarily, their only child will occupy that chair, but his presence will not unite them. Instead, it will only amplify the gulf between the two. Set in 1960 Montana, Wildlife finds this suburban family caught in an existential crisis. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been terminated from his position at the local country club. The officially cause: “overstepping his boundaries with the clients,” which Jerry interprets as being too friendly — he was actually gambling with the golfers. Emasculated, Jerry quietly … Continue reading DFF Review — WILDLIFE

DFF Review — ASH IS PUREST WHITE (江湖儿女)

It’s only a matter of minutes before a loaded gun is produced. Not unusual considering Ash is Purest White revolves around two gangsters, but this is mid-90s China and unregister firearms are illegal and come with a heavy penalty. Just showing someone the gun is enough to make your point; firing it would seal your fate. Qiao (Tao Zhao) is the girlfriend, and Bin (Fan Liao) is the gangster on his way up. Rival gangs are a constant menace, and sudden attacks are a way of life. Most are harmless, a few are even a simple case of mistaken identity, … Continue reading DFF Review — ASH IS PUREST WHITE (江湖儿女)