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)


“History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme.” —Mark Twain Embrace of the Serpent tells the story of the pilgrim’s journey down the Amazon River and into the Columbian jungle. The story is told twice, first in 1909 and then in 1940, and in both instances the pilgrim is looking for a rare and exotic plant that only one guide is capable of finding. The first exhibition — based loosely on the diaries of the scientist who undertook this endeavor — finds Theo (Jan Bijvoet), a young, Dutch scientist and Karamakate (Nilbio Torres) as his Virgil. Theo is looking … Continue reading EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT