The Colombian film Monos by Alejandro Landes has won the top prize for best film at the 18th edition of the Transilvania Film Festival. The story of survival, power and anarchy, was the only Latin American title in competition at the Rumanian event.
The jury composed by filmmakers Denis Côté and Constantin Popescu, producers Mike Goodridge and Anita Juka, and Grainne Humphreys, director of the Dublin International Film Festival, gave the award to the Colombian film “for its hypnotic power through its minimalist storytelling, committed cast, and unsentimental portrait of young people with guns.” The award comes with a cash prize of €15,000.
In Landes’s intensely thrilling twist on Lord of the Flies, Julianne Nicholson plays a terrorized American engineer held captive by teenage guerilla bandits in an unnamed South American jungle. Leaderless and rootless, the child soldiers puff themselves up with names like Rambo, Smurf, and Bigfoot (the latter a brutal Moises Arias), and survive the tedium and predation of the wilderness through sexual games and cult-like rituals. As they wage physical and psychological warfare on perceived enemies—and, inevitably, among themselves—they are reduced to a state of desperate barbarism.
Monos had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award, and it is scheduled to be released in U.S theaters this September by the hand of distribution company NEON.