Maria Clara Cobo
In movies, war is never just war, but rather it is a perfect metaphor used to address some of humanity´s deepest conflicts. This is because in terms of fiction, war can become a scenario rich in narrative elements, which make it an ideal starting point for a fascinating film. The director of Mono con Gallinas, Alfredo Leon, acknowledges this fact since he uses war as a setting to demonstrate the difficulty people experience during the change from adolescence to adulthood. Inspired in real life people and situations, Mono con Gallinas is the story of a young boy who sees himself forced to grow up from one moment to another in the most unfavorable conditions during war.
In 1941, Peru and Ecuador were at war due to the result of several bordering debates among them during over years. Months before the war, a young boy, Jorge Leon, enlisted in the Ecuadorian army to fight against the Peruvians and regain the original territory of his country. Being a soldier of only eighteen years old with little experience in war, Jorge must confront death, hunger, abandonment, and most of all, the force of human nature. Imprisoned in the camp of his enemies, Jorge must choose between being a loyal patriot to Ecuador or being an innocent and sensitive man once he realizes that his enemies are not what he expected.
One of the many purposes behind Mono con Gallinas was to change the way Ecuadorians see that war. We all see it as a pathetic acceptance of failure used as a distraction from the real problems of our nation. When we heard about the 1941 war against Peru, we all feel broken since we lost much of our territory. This type of feeling not only made ourselves feel inferior to our enemies, but it created an ongoing resentment towards them. Alfredo Leon wanted to change that aspect of war in his film. He sees it as an effective way to represent the reality of the time, and to point out that , in the end, the ones who faught for their country were innocent human beings.
Mono con Gallinas has won several awards, such as Premio Naional Augusto San Miguel. Alfredo Leon said, “I think the film has a historical educational value. It is suitable for all audiences and can be used in schools to talk about this part of history. I’m very poud of the atmosphere. That’s a collective merit. We got a very believable atmosphere, very real. I think we have raised the bar quality”. Honestly, I could not agree more with him. Mono con Gallinas was a very successful film; the director achieved to express his purpose in a way to entertain and educate people. This movie disserves 4 stars due to its ability to incorporate the realism of histoy with modern humor.