The guerrillero towers over the history of Colombian cinema for their glaring absence. Despite the country's decades-long civil war, the rank-and-file members of the armed militias that have dominated the local cultural imaginary in daily newscasts about massacres, kidnappings, and rural confrontations have been mostly absent from the canon of Colombian film. Using Alejandro Landes's 2019 film, Monos, as his case study, Manuel Betancourt offers a cursory history of the guerrilla film in the Latin American country (and the attendant conversation it's sparked within Colombia's own film critic community), arguing that a new wave of Colombian filmmakers are marrying nonfiction and novelistic techniques to finally grapple with a figure that's long been a punchline at best and a nebulous ‘Other’ at worst.
Alejandro Landes's Monos and the Once and Future Colombian War Film
Manuel Betancourt is a film critic and a cultural writer. He is the film columnist at Electric Literature and a regular contributor to Remezcla. His academic work on queer film fandom has appeared in Genre and GLQ, while his cultural criticism has been featured in Film Comment, The Atlantic, NPR, Pacific Standard, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others.
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Manuel Betancourt; Alejandro Landes's Monos and the Once and Future Colombian War Film. Film Quarterly 1 September 2019; 73 (1): 26–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2019.73.1.26
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