Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego, Colombia 2018, 125 minutes HD M Violence, offensive language, sex scenes
A vibrant Colombian indigenous culture that’s survived centuries of colonisation takes on the 1970s drug trade in our visually and aurally astounding opener. Directors Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego shake off the clichés of crime-war and imperialism and imbue their saga with surreal beauty and the elemental power of ancient proverb. The film’s formidable matriarch knows full well that the young chancer who has courted her daughter could only have paid the outrageous dowry she demanded by selling dope to the gringos. But the seed is sown: insisting traditional honour codes be observed in enriching her clan, she bends her shamanistic authority to building an empire in the desert.
- Bill Gosden, NZIFF 2018.