BIRDS ARE FLYING HIGH
A regular of La Quinzaine, Ciro Guerra reimagines gangsters movies by poeticizing the genesis of Colombian cartels.
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».