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The drug trade has been turned into a circus

Cristina Gallego know how it is to live with the shame. To grow up in drogkartellernas Colombia was a trial. It did not help to see how popfiktionen – from the 80's ”Miami Vice” to Netflixserien the ”Narcos” – exploited the myths surrounding the drug trade, and transformed the infamous drogbaronen Paolo Escobar to a kind of popkulturell figurehead.

" I'm ashamed of the modern ”narcosturismen” where people will come to my country in the ”Pablo Escobar”-shirts and want to look at his house. It was also not particularly nice to grow up in a country that had the names and who always will be associated with the drug trade, war and terror, say – Cynical people have turned this whole tragedy with the drug trade to a single big circus. It is as if the germans would only be associated with Hitler, " says Cristina Gallego sitting in a hotel room with a view of the royal dramatic theatre on the other side of Nybroviken bay.

in connection with the Stockholm international film festival in the fall where the ”Birds of passage” ended up on the festival's official poster. With the oscar nominated ”Birds of passage”, they want to expand on the world ”stereotypical image” of his homeland. The film depicts the relatively unknown prelude to the 80-talseran where, among others, Pablo Escobar paved the way for today's global drug trafficking.

the Action begins at the end of the 60's and revolves around a few familjeklaner indigenous wayuufolket who live in the remote ökentrakterna in the north of Colombia.

Quick cash leads to the colombian Wayuu-the family loses their foothold in the ”Birds of passage”. Photo: Edge entertainment

"We wanted to explore a theme which is still taboo and is surrounded by self-censorship, but would never dream of glorifying the violent trade in drugs," she says, and continues:

" I wanted to learn more about what happened when ordinary people were sucked into drug dealing in a naive way. It started a little innocence in a legal gray area was to have devastating consequences for our country and the world. But the film does not focus on the criminal aspects, but rather on what happens within people, " says Gallego on the film, which had its world premiere in Cannes in 2018.

the Film is a depiction of how an old moral codes can completely be destroyed because of greed and completely unbridled capitalism.

beginning with a party where a young man (José Acosta) proposes marriage to a girl of the higher class (Natalie Reyes) that is controlled by a matriarch. To get afford the expensive dowry will he the fatal decision to eke out his modest income from the smuggling of whiskey, cigarettes and oil, through to start to unload the marijuana to the american hippies. A fateful decision that paves the way for enormous wealth, but at the same time leading to bloody family battles in which ancient moral codes will be destroyed.

– the Film is a portrayal of how an ancient spiritual culture is destroyed because of greed and completely unbridled capitalism. It tells how a culture living close to the spirits is turned into rubble in a conflict between tradition and modernity, " says Cristina Gallego.

”Embrace the serpent” Photo: Oscilloscope

then, she produced Ciro Guerras psychedelic äventyrsdrama ”Embrace of the serpent” as Oscarsnominerades for best foreign film. The seed of the ”Birds of passage” were sown ten years ago when Gallego and Guerra played in ”The wind journeys” in Guajiraregionen. Script ”Birds of passage” came from the local urban legends with roots in the northern Colombia, which is now fallen into oblivion.

– Stories about how wayuufolket ended up in drug dealing sounded like a maffiadrama with the aborigine in the lead roles. When we began to write the script, we wanted to start from some special elements: the gangster movie, the tragedy anatomy and magical realism, " says Gallego.

She is deeply inspired by Gabriel García Márquez's novel ”100 years of solitude,” with its pronounced magical realism.

" It is a fantastic novel that is written in relation to a spiritual world. In a similar way, we wanted to make a film that explores the relationship between reality and dream, between the natural and supernatural forces – such as you don't normally see on film. Just as with ”Embrace of the serpent,” we work with the themes is about the relationship between tradition and modernity, " she says.

inspired by real events that fiktionaliserats to make it dramatic, coherent and to not have to keep strictly to a special family or individual. Just like ”the Godfather,” it is a moral story about to win material wealth but lose his soul. But unlike coppola's iconic gangsterdrama and its successor have the ”Birds of passage” a feminist edge.

" We tried to tell the story from a female point of view, as it unfolds in a matriarkat.

”Birds of passage” will get an additional authenticity of the regiduons close cooperation with the wayuufolket. A third of the crew belonged to the colombian indigenous peoples.

"With both ”Embrace...” and ”Birds of passage” we tried to not just make a movie about wayuufolket but also with them," says Gallego.

”Birds of passage” Photo: Edge entertainment

the Plot is enhanced by specially composed music and real wayuukläder that was tailored for that color and shape plays an important role in the iconography and mythology – which also tells a story.

" We wanted to explore things not previously heard about. In our own way.

”Birds of passage” thanks also ”supernatural forces” for their participation. In the beginning of the recording, suffered the severe setback in the form of natural forces – storms, floods and åskanfall – which destroyed large parts of the equipment and stage design.

– the Recording was extremely difficult. The locals told us that their ancestors felt our presence and was upset. And in the beginning, we felt really that we had them against us – a kind of spiritual resistance. But we prayed together with the aborigines and later, we had the feeling that the spirits helped us. They gave us agreed to end, " smiles Cristina Gallego.

Cristina Gallego Photo: Lisa Mattisson

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