It is a film without a specific context of time and place that, nevertheless, has everything to do with what has happened in the last century in Colombia.
Scene from the movie: 'Monkeys'. / Taken from: Youtube.com/Neon
LatinAmerican Post | Sofía Machado
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Leer en español: ¿Por qué ver Monos?
This direct allusion is very well resolved in 'MONOS' (literally Monkeys): it is situated in a reality that could perfectly be happening, or have occurred, here or in another country, where social conflicts escalate to politics, and political conflicts affect society, especially at its base.
Society is seen from the beginning, from scratch, through chaos, continuing with democracy and, when it fails, by anarchy.
'MONOS' is like the portrait of Joyce's teenage artist but narrated with all the rawness, emotions, fear, inexperience and hard situations faced by eight dissimilar teenagers. It all adds up to leave a door open for reflection on our behavior and what makes us human; individuals who belong to a society and to something bigger than ourselves.
'MONOS' is a portrait, from a teenage look, of an entire society, while providing an impressive cinematic experience. Sound, music, landscape, camera management, everything there works and integrates. For me, the sound is the cusp point; even by closing your eyes, it is possible to imagine - recreate - what is happening, with all the clarity. I think there are not many movies that can achieve this.
In addition to the sensory resources, the script and the acting are remarkable: simple, genuine dialogues, without boasting or unnecessary extensions, which reflect the complexity of human relationships that are lived in full bloom and with all the intensity in adolescence.
Perhaps in its very simplicity, the film becomes complex, because reaching - or better, recovering - simplicity has become the last challenge in a world where everything has become unnecessarily complicated.
And the performance, well, only praise ... Praise for the genuine expressiveness of each character, praise for portraying any of us in different situations, and praise for recording in the cold moor of Chingaza, about 3,600 meters, with minimal clothing, as if it were the most natural. Because there, in that world, almost nothing material matters, except weapons, because they give power; nothing different from the basic and deep sense of survival, which connects us equally with any animal and, in fact, reminds us that nature is the same.
I don't think it's necessary to type 'MONOS' as a political or social film, much less judge their real crudeness. It is a story of human beings that are not superior to their conflicts, that entangled in them do not manage to transcend and do not mind self-destruction.
The characters — that can also represent us — are the only ones responsible for everything that happens to them, but they seek explanations in the faults of others and relief in the lament when in reality their behavior is already printed in their DNA, and their world was not created by anyone other than themselves. This is how we are programmed, this is how we function as a society.
And? Well, in us there is also the power of reflection and the ability to change in time, even when the future is uncertain, as shown in the last scene of the film, with a basic slogan: survive.
I don't know if I liked the movie in the end; It is very uncomfortable to see. In the cinema, as in all arts, the message can transcend the level of the merely pleasant. It's not a "pretty" tape, it's a good movie, which is different.
An hour and forty minutes at the edge of the seat, making faces of astonishment, squeezing the toes, with fear, with disgust, with many other sensations ... It is particularly uncomfortable to see everything that these eight 'MONOS' do while they seek to survive, narrated without openings or ornaments, in a primitive and basic way, from the simplest to the cruelty that is required by indolence. What happens when the human being teaches his cruelest side? Everything gets worse, of course.
We are all 'MONOS', here, now, yesterday, tomorrow and forever.