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‘Birds of Passage’: Splendor and the Grass

3 1 8
‘Birds of Passage” begins, appropriately enough, with a bird dance. The bird is a young woman, Zaida (Natalia Reyes), her flaming red shawl billowing forth to become her wings. Her dance, the yonna, is a gorgeous mating ritual practiced by the Wayúu indigenous people of Colombia, where the action plays out in the 1970s and 1980s. And the mate she chooses, Rapayet (José Acosta), proves to be a budding entrepreneur who must balance tribal and family traditions against an explosion of prosperity that he helps create by supplying marijuana for consumption in North America. The film can be harrowing in its repetitive violence,...

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