After winning the Special Jury Award at Sundance earlier this year, MONOS will be opening in theatres across Canada over the coming weeks.
STARRING: JULIANNE NICHOLSON, MOISÉS ARIAS, SOFIA BUENAVENTURA, DEIBY RUEDA, KAREN QUINTERO, LAURA CASTRILLÓN, JULIÁN GIRALDO, PAUL CUBIDES, SNEIDER CASTRO
"Mesmerizing. Alejandro Landes is a powerful new voice in cinema.” -Guillermo del Toro
September 27th: Toronto - TIFF Bell Lightbox Edmonton - Princess Edmonton Calgary - Plaza Calgary
October 4th: Saskatoon - Roxy Saskatoon Regina - Rainbow Regina
October 18th: Vancouver - Vancity
MONOS, Alejandro Landes’ awe-inspiring third feature, is a breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America. The film tracks a young group of soldiers and rebels — bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom — who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson).
The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night, an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives the squadron into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos and within MONOS the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever dream.
With a rapturous score by Mica Levi (only her third, after UNDER THE SKIN and JACKIE), director Alejandro Landes examines the chaos and absurdity of war from the unique perspective of adolescence, recalling LORD OF THE FLIES and BEAU TRAVAIL in a way that feels wholly original. Landes brings together a diverse young cast of both seasoned professionals (including Hannah Montana's Moisés Arias) and untrained neophytes and thrusts them into an unforgiving, irrational and often surreal environment where anything can happen — even peace.
WRITTEN BY: Alejandro Landes, Alexis Dos Santos
DIRECTED BY: Alejandro Landes
A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR AND CO-WRITER ALEJANDRO LANDES
How did this project come about?
There has been a seemingly endless civil war in Colombia, a war with many fronts:
paramilitaries, guerrillas, Narcos, the government, foreign actors and everything seems to be
coming to a head. The fragile possibility of peace is in the air, and it's been a long time coming.
Monos explores this moment through the prism of the war movie. Though this is my
generation’s first chance, this is not Colombia’s first peace process and so it feels plagued by
ghosts. These ghosts inspired me to shape the film like a fever dream.
How did the situation in Colombia directly inspire this movie?
The former President was given the Nobel Peace Prize last year for signing a peace agreement
between FARC, the main guerrilla group, and the government, but this is a peace that was
rejected in the ballot box by a referendum and had to be pushed through by executive decree.
The accord calls for all guerillas brandishing machine guns in the mountains and jungles to give
up their weapons and head into the towns and cities. It’s still unclear how they will be received
— will they be welcomed and helped to start anew or killed in the streets for revenge or
Also, despite the agreement with the guerilla’s commanders, many fear that dissident
squadrons have splintered off to wage a war of their own, like you begin to see in MONOS.
These questions create a ticking time bomb.
You drop the viewer headlong into an unspecified environment devoid of context. Discuss
your strategy here...
The idea, from the story to the production design, was to create an atemporal world, out of
place, out of time, far away from everything--- with this group of kids who is being trained and
watched over by some unknown force. They're on a mission, part of a clandestine army.
They're a squad of soldiers in the ‘back’ lines of a war— but also just a tight-knit pack of
teenagers. Though the specifics of the Colombian civil war are the source of inspiration, the
idea was always for the experience of the film to cross borders and exist as a world in and of its
What fascinated you about the subject of teenage commandos?
Most of us have dreamed, more than once, of running off with our friends to someplace far
away and doing whatever we wanted without anyone watching over us or telling us what to do.
In Monos, youth serves as a metaphor for Colombia as a nation; it's a young country, still
searching for its identity, and the dream of peace is fragile, tentative and recurring. Much more
than an exploration of child soldiers, this film speaks to adolescence because it’s then that we
start fighting to understand who we are and who we want to become...It’s a stage in life in
which we are caught between wanting company and, just as desperately, wanting to be alone.
Monos looks to evoke this angst and conflict from the inside rather than create reactions of pity
or outrage in the audience by depicting what could be perceived as a foreign conflict.
Courtesy of Taro PR