Written by Alejandro Landes & Alexis Dos Santos
Directed by Alejandro Landes
Above the clouds, on a Colombian mountaintop, a small group of teenage commandos kills time while protecting their hostage, an American doctor. We are immediately thrust into a mythic, alien landscape in the opening frames of Monos. The music adds to the slow, foreboding atmosphere, hinting at the Lord of the Flies-esque finale that will inevitably come. This immediate move to set the mood is a brilliant choice and quickly brings us into this mysterious, strange world.
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Embrace of the Serpent (2015)
Written & Directed by Ciro Guerra
The story feels familiar, well-tread territory. A visitor from the Western world ventures into the dark jungles seeking knowledge, a cure, a remedy, wealth, and fortune. A strange and mystic native guides them through this exotic land, and it either ends in triumph or tragedy, the Westerner at the forefront of the story. Filmmaker Ciro Guerra takes this framework and subverts it, turns this into the account of the native with the Westerner becoming a background supporting figure. Guerra tells of two visitors to the same native Amazonian shaman, thirty years apart, but both men are seeking the same curative plant. Through these dual points in time, the audience can witness the decay of native cultures, ravaged by the effects of interlopers on their land.
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