Birds of Passage Review


  • Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego

Main Cast

  • Carmiña Martínez as Úrsula
  • Natalia Reyes as Zaida
  • José Acosta as Rapayet
  • Jhon Narváez as Moisés
  • Jose Vicente Cotes as Peregrino, Rapayet’s uncle
  • Juan Bautista as Aníbal
  • Greider Meza as Leonidas

Paper instructions

A beautifully shot film that tells the historically-inspired story of the marijuana trade and the Wayúu people in Colombia. If you’re interested in indigenous people, in modernity, in narcotrafficking, in the tension between the market, traditional cultures, and violence, this is the film for you. The film thus connects to a number of different weeks and themes in our semester, any that deal with the question of indigenous people and the national state and economy.

Your assignment is to write a critical review of Birds of Passage that evaluates the film in the context of our semester. In order to do this, you will need to draw on the assigned readings from class. You must use the two readings assigned from class. (No outside readings, though. Let’s keep it focused on the resources we’ve used in class.) There are also readings specific to this film on Canvas. Each paper should include a short overview of the plot, the important characters, and a discussion of the historical themes that they embody. Then, with reference to the readings, evaluate the historic merits of the film. Analyze the readings in the context of the film, and the film in the context of the readings.

It is up to you which historical themes you decide to emphasize from the theme, but you must be able to connect them to specifics in either the primary or secondary readings at your disposal.

Please note that this paper is to be entirely your own work. You may not use internet resources or other outside readings. Stick to the readings that have been assigned in class. Whenever you use ideas from those readings, whether explicitly or not, you must cite them in footnotes. Citations should conform to Turabian style. A guide to Turabian style citations is available here. We will be keeping up with reviews of the film available online. The one exception to outside-class resources available for writing this paper is the film’s page on the Internet Movie Database, which you may only use to keep track of and correctly spell the names of the characters, or to keep the plot straight. Same goes for wikipedia.