A re­gu­lar of La Quin­zaine, Ciro Guerra rei­ma­gines gang­sters mo­vies by poe­ti­ci­zing the ge­ne­sis of Co­lom­bian car­tels.

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The context is dif­ferent (a de­ser­ted re­gion of the north of Co­lom­bia) but the theme of the movie «les Oi­seaux de pas­sage» re­minds us of «l’Etreinte du serpent», for­mer shock si­gned by Ciro Guerra that sho­wed the des­truc­tion of the Ama­zo­nian culture by exo­ge­nous ele­ments. The same pro­cess is at work here, as the Wayyu, an In­dian clan of an­ces­tral rites and tra­di­tions, or­ga­nizes it­self in or­der to pro­duce ma­ri­jua­na and sell it to Nor­then Ame­ri­ca at he end of the 60’s. Their fra­gile al­liance with a near­by clan, ad­ded to a ha­zar­dous as­so­cia­tion with Mexi­can midd­le­men, sees the birth of a stri­king pros­pe­ri­ty (the movie runs un­til the 80’s) but the (spi­ri­tual) price is high.

Where a hol­ly­wood-style treat­ment would have high­ligh­ted cer­tain mo­tifs (fa­mi­lial dra­ma, vio­lence shoo­touts), Guerra and his com­pa­nion Cris­ti­na Gal­le­go choose ano­ther tone, right bet­ween the do­cu­men­ta­ry and a ma­gi­cal rea­lism, em­bra­cing the pa­ra­doxi­cal point of view of the Wayyu, where wo­men ap­ply a de­ci­sive (coun­ter) po­wer but where men keep sho­wing si­gns of a mad ma­chis­mo.

The whole movie is pre­sen­ted as the el­lip­ti­cal illustration of a song of simple and po­wer­ful words as­ser­ting the im­por­tance of tra­di­tion and its trans­mis­sive di­men­sion. And that’s exact­ly what this movie does, re­mo­de­ling an al­most for­got­ten sto­ry in­to a my­tho­lo­gi­cal fable, « to avoid that traces be dis­per­sed by the wind».

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