Tag Archives: Colombia

Monos (Alejandro Landes, 2019)

The blistering third feature by Colombian-Ecuadorian filmmaker Alejandro Landes starts with training rituals that recall the physicality of Claire Denis’ Beau Travail. Its characters are eight teenage guerrillas serving the orders of a mysterious force known as The Organisation, stationed to wait for further instructions beyond guarding both an American prisoner (Julianne Nicholson) and a loaned dairy cow.

While some have code names referencing pop culture (Rambo, Smurf), others (Bigfoot, Wolf) evoke folklore, myth and fairy tales. Their base of operations does similar, with a mountaintop fortress filmed by DoP Jasper Wolf as though it’s an island floating in the clouds, while the arrival on horseback of their adult drill sergeant, a minuscule but extremely muscular man, amplifies the surreal, fantastical quality. Were it not for the fact they’re firing guns and holding a woman hostage, the group’s early joviality and camaraderie would suggest a more gender-inclusive Lost Boys (JM Barrie’s, not Joel Schumacher’s)…

Full review for Little White Lies

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, 2015)

When it comes to the cinematic canon, certain films come to mind when thinking of particular stories. For example, when it comes to tales of the mafia, you’re probably going to think of The Godfather or Goodfellas; they have left a distinct enough imprint on the notion of a mafia story that they’ve become the go-to reference points for the concept.

Now, when it comes to stories about madness brought about by venturing into the jungle, a couple of key films will generally come to mind. There’s Apocalypse Now, there’s Fitzcarraldo, and, of course, the masterpiece that is George of the Jungle. Why bring this up? Well, it’s the case that Ciro Guerra’s new film, Embrace of the Serpent, offers a delirium-inducing drive into the dark heart of nature that feels like little else we’ve seen before – a distinctive experience worthy of becoming one of those titans…

Full review for VODzilla.co