Oscar Shortlist, Birds of Passage, in theaters soon.

Here’s another reason to visit the new Malco Powerhouse Theater in Downtown Memphis, more specifically on Friday, March 22!

In pursuit of material wealth, tradition erodes. BIRDS OF PASSAGE traces the origins of the Colombian drug trade as it slowly corrupts an indigenous Wayúu family. It played in the 2019 Sundance Film Festival’s Spotlight program, and made the shortlist, just one of the nine films, for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.

Birds of Passage

Watch the Trailer

BIRDS OF PASSAGE opened Directors’ Fortnight at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it received glowing reviews. It then won three Fenix Film Awards, including Best Fictional Film and Best Actress, and nominations in a total of nine categories.

L to R – Directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra – Photo Credit by Mateo Contreras

Directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra of EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, the first Colombian film ever nominated for an Oscar®.  The genre-defying BIRDS OF PASSAGE stars Wayúu descendants Jose Acosta and Carmiña Martínez. Also featuring rising Colombia star, Natalia Reyes, of the upcoming TERMINATOR reboot. It’s also stunningly shot by longtime collaborator David Gallego.

Torn between his desires of power and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business to secure dowry to marry Zaida (Reyes). His quick success meets the disapproval of his tribe’s matriarch, Ursula (Martínez) in the backdrop of 1970s Columbia. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get tangled in conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood.

Quick facts and possible spoilers below (not about the plot?…) from an interview with Cristina Gallego.

The story begins with a stunning sequence focused on a dance known as La Yonna. What does this ritual represent for the Wayúu?
Since the Wayúu people don’t have a formal form of marriage, they have this ritualistic dance that symbolizes a young woman’s release from confinement and her first encounter with the available men in town. It’s their version of a mating ritual.

What does the term “alijuna” mean for the Wayúu people?
“Alijunas” are all of us who don’t have Wayúu blood. All Colombians who don’t have Wayúu blood are “alijunas,” as well as all foreigners.

What is the significance of birds in Wayúu culture?
Birds are prophetic for the Wayúu people, as they always bring something with them. In Wayúu mythology birds also symbolize the “pütchipü’ü” or “palabrero,” who is in charge of mediating and solving conflicts.