Monkey Warfare (Canada; 75 min.)


directed by: Reginald Harkema
starring: Nadia Litz; Don McKellar; Tracy Wright
Monkey Warfare
 
Beth says: "This film is among other things, an ode to Toronto by Torontonians - and it’s a small world in Canadian cinema circles! Don McKellar, Tracy Wright and Nadia Litz play revolutionaries past and present living on the edge in a Toronto neighborhood on the verge of gentrification. Great soundtrack, deft acting and perfect chemistry manages to pull off what could have been a too-smug insiders-only commentary on trying to live a postmodern activist life in a big city. I give it 4 cats, even though I know I missed stuff because I don’t know from Toronto injokes – perversely, I liked that it didn’t try at all to ‘translate’ the film to work for any general city; I’m a big girl, I can substitute ‘Cambridgeport’ for ‘Rosedale’ on my own! 4 cats"
 
Michael says: "Sure, I predisposed to love any film starring Don McKellar and Tracy Wright. I mean, come on… this is one talented mash-up of director/writer/actor/good people going on. Still, since its premiere last September in Toronto, I’d been hearing good things from other Chlotrudis member who’d been lucky enough to see it. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. MONKEY WARFARE is an economical gem… tight, funny, powerful, insightful… all in under 80 minutes.

"Don and Tracy play Dan and Linda, fifteen years past their radical youth, they spend their time finding discarded valuable among the trash. Linda spends some time doing low-key volunteer work, while Dan fixes bicycles and becomes intrigued by Susan, a sexy, young woman who supplies the older couple with pot. Dan and Linda have some sort of complicated relationship, but the exact nature is unclear. What is clear is that Dan is entranced by Susan’s youthful energy and appeal, and she seems to enjoy his captured attention. She also bonds with the initially distrustful Linda, until she reveals her true calling that reflects Dan and Linda’s suitably shady past while seeming a mockery of it.

"Director Reg Harkema is an editor who has worked on a host of great Canadian films (Bruce McDonald’s HARD CORE LOGO, Guy Maddin’s TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS, Gary Burns’ KITCHEN PARTY, and both of McKellar’s features, LAST NIGHT and CHILDSTAR.) His skill as an editor is evident here, as Harkema spins a thoughtful story with a lovely building arc without a wasted moment. There was some real collaboration between the small cast and the director, and it showed in the natural and gradual unveiling of a fascinating story involving fascinating characters.

"This film was one of two co-presented by Chlotrudis at the Independent Film Festival of Boston. Director Harkema, along with cast members McKellar, Wright, Nadia Litz, and Cindy Wolfe were guests of the festival over the weekend, and a nicer, more enjoyable bunch you couldn’t find. 5 cats"

 
Chris says: "Dan (Don McKellar) and Linda (Tracey Wright) aren’t married, but they’ve been partners in the best sense of the word for fifteen years. Neither of them are employed, but they get by on finding hidden treasures at garage sales and selling them online. Then, Susan (Nadia Litz), an impressionable pot dealer half their age comes into their lives. Reginald Harkema’s sharp little film is a treat from its shockingly violent beginning to its somewhat surprising, dangling ending. Less a didactic political comedy than a rich character study, it greatly benefits from an excellent cast (it’s nice to see Wright tackle a leading role) and a lovingly-detailed sense of place. I particularly liked Dan and Linda’s scruffily lived-in rented home, the vintage album covers Dan gleefully shows off to Susan, and the Toronto neighborhood streets seen via the bicycles the characters all use as their chief modes of transportation. MONKEY WARFARE strikes a faultless balance between idealism and pragmatism and it has an irresistible, ramshackle charm. 5 cats"