classified 15 S

Please note: This was screened in Oct 2019

Alejandro Landes
Sofia Buenaventura, Julian Giraldo, Karen Quintero
102 mins, Subtitled, 2019, Colombia Argentina
Primary language
English | Spanish

Chaos reigns amongst a wild troupe of teenage bandits who have rituals, guns and a panic stricken hostage in this tense and deeply unhinged thriller from Colombian filmmaker Alejandro Landes.

Deep in the remote mountains of somewhere that might be South America, a ragtag band of barely adolescent soldiers belonging to a shadowy guerrilla organisation are occupying a derelict ruin, brandishing guns and guarding Doctora (Julianne Nicholson), an American engineer, hostage. While awaiting orders that may never come, they run drills, tend to a cow and do what anarchic teens everywhere do – get high, have sex, and hang out. But as a fracturing of power and a breakdown of loyalties in the group begins to take hold, the lethal combination of loaded guns and zero supervision or accountability works out exactly as well as you’d imagine, and an extraordinary descent into a form of unhinged and surreal savagery, on steroids, unfolds.

Winner of the Special Jury Award at Sundance, Landes’ visionary third feature feels like a fever dream - falling somewhere between Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Flies and Embrace of the Serpent. With its striking baroque aesthetic, otherworldly setting, and ingenious reframing of the war film (plus another superb, otherworldly score by composer Mica Levi), this feral and furious drama provides a uniquely poetic and potent head trip that will leave you gasping.