Though he’s worked steadily since the turn of the century, Ciro Guerra
only ascended into the upper tiers of contemporary world cinema quite recently. With 2015’s “Embrace of the Serpent
” and last year’s “Birds of Passage
,” the Colombian filmmaker announced and subsequently confirmed himself on the global stage with works that focused on the violent collisions between modernity and tradition in Aboriginal Colombian communities, and then tracked the aftershocks through an often hallucinatory lens.
By way of scale and star-power, “Waiting for the Barbarians
” — which stars Mark Rylance
, Johnny Depp
, and Robert Pattinson
, claims a Nobel
laureate as screenwriter, and premiered in competition in Venice — marks his biggest step forward to date. In terms of artistic success, however, it’s at best a lateral move.
Guerra’s English-language debut finds the filmmaker working in a more subdued register, foregoing the oneiric flourishes of his most recent output for