Film club screens haunting survivalist saga

Going Out

CAUTIONARY TALE Moisés Arias stars as teen commando Bigfoot in the acclaimed ‘Monos’.

The next monthly screening in Westport Film Club’s 2020 calendar is Alejandro Landes’s ‘Monos’, which will be shown tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 4, at 8.45pm in the W Cinema. A hypnotic and unsettling war drama set in Colombia, ‘Monos’ was inspired by ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’.
On a misty mountain top, eight teenage commandos – bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom – guard one American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson), and one milk cow, Shakira. Playing games and initiating cult-like rituals, the children run amok in the jungle, but their feverish boredom is interrupted when the hostage tries to escape. Order descends into chaos, and the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary tale.
To cast the child soldiers, the casting team considered over 800 Colombian children, before selecting 30 to take part in a mock basic-training camp high up in the Andes mountains, led by an Argentinian actress and a former commander of a guerilla combat unit.
‘Monos’ has won dozens of awards around the world, including Best Film at the 2019 BFI London Film Festival and World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance 2019.
One thing is listen out for is the score from BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated composer Mica Levi (‘Under the Skin’, ‘Jackie’), who delivered Landes’s request for a ‘monumental but minimal score’ by using instruments like whistles, a glass bottle, timpani and a synthesiser as the base for the sound.
Reviewing the film, Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast writes: “Alejandro Landes’s tale of a squad of ruthless youth soldiers in Colombia is not just the most visually arresting feature of the year, but a thought-provoking commentary on the country’s guerrilla warfare-plagued history.” Fellow critic Matthew Lucas (The Front Row) says, “There’s an austere beauty at work here, the primordial allure of the nature that surrounds them belying the ugliness of the conflict hidden within the trees, and Mica Levi’s sparsely haunting score is some of her finest work.”
‘Monos’ is 103 minutes long, in Spanish with English subtitles, and rated 15A by IFCO for strong violence and language, scenes of drug use and moderate sex/nudity.
The remaining films in the summer season are the multi Oscar-winning, international sensation ‘Parasite’ from acclaimed director Bong Joon-Ho, which will be shown on April 1, and the exquisite French period-romance ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, by Céline Sciamma, which will be shown on May 6.

Annual membership for 2020 is available at €40. Non members pay €10 per film admission. Membership and admission can be purchased from 8.30pm in the W Cinema before the film screenings.