Set in Columbia during the rise of the drug lords, Pajeros de Verano (Birds of Passage) is a sleak, hard-hitting take on gang warfare among the Wayuu people of the South American country which, unfortunately, has become a by word for drug trafficking. The film has a similar grittiness to Brazilian film City of God but with old men in cowboy hats instead street gangs of young men.
The plot revolves around a family who have taken to drug dealing in order to keep up with the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Following an assault on the family’s daughter by the son of a local rival gang lord, retribution and revenge become central to the proceedings.
While beautifully shot with a palet of golden sands, blue skys and often deep red costumes, signifying both the colours of the flag of the modern Columbian nation and the complexities of the relationship of the characters involved, the plot of the film itself suffers from a fixation with trying to prolong the drama with long lingering shots when short sharp ones would have worked out better and, more importantly given a much needed shave to a movie which you feel has been needlessly prolonged in order to make it look prettier. While the basic plot is standard crime drama fair it is over complicated by the needless inclusion of too many characters.
Pajeros de Verano isn’t a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, but a bit of heavy editing would have turned a good, watchable film into a potential masterpiece.
Pajeros de Verano is currently available through the usual formats.