Undertow (2009 film)

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Undertow
Contracorriente.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Javier Fuentes-León
Produced by Javier Fuentes-León
Written by Javier Fuentes-León
Julio Rojas
Starring Cristian Mercado
Manolo Cardona
Tatiana Astengo
Music by Selma Mutal Vermeulen
Cinematography Mauricio Vidal
Edited by Roberto Benavides
Distributed by Axiom Films (UK and Ireland)
Release dates
  • 23 September 2009 (2009-09-23)
Running time 100 minutes
Country Peru
Language Spanish

Undertow (Spanish: Contracorriente) is a 2009 Peruvian drama film directed by Javier Fuentes-León and marks his directorial long-feature debut. Initial financing came from Germany and France with additional financing by Peru.[1] The film shot in Cabo Blanco, Peru, won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic category at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S.A.[2] Other Audience Awards included Cartagena, Montreal, Miami, Chicago, Utrecht, Lima, and Galway, as well as Jury Awards in Madrid, San Francisco, Seattle, Toulouse, and Philadelphia. It received a nomination as Best Latin American Film at the 2011 Goya Awards in Spain.

The film was also selected as the Peruvian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards in the U.S.A.[3] but didn't make the final shortlist.[4]

Cast[edit]

Plot[edit]

Miguel (Cristian Mercado) is a young fisherman of Cabo Blanco, a small village in northern Peru with specific traditions regarding death. He is married to Mariela (Tatiana Astengo), who is pregnant with their first son, but he also has a secret affair with a male painter called Santiago (Manolo Cardona).

Santiago accidentally drowns at sea, and his ghost returns to ask Miguel to find his body, in order to bury it with their village's rituals. Miguel eventually finds Santiago's body in the water, but does not tell his ghost of the discovery. Meanwhile, the villagers discover nude paintings of Miguel at Santiago's house, fueling a rumour that he was having an affair. Mariela hears the rumours, confronts Miguel about them, and upon hearing him confess, she goes to her mother's house with their newborn child.

Miguel returns to look for the body of Santiago, but he finds that the current has taken it away. Mariela eventually returns home, but then the body of Santiago appears in the nets of a fishing boat. Miguel decides to claim the body of Santiago for a burial at sea. He takes the coffin of Santiago to sea, but a second after the coffin glides into the sea and Miguel is in bitter tears, the ghost of Santiago reappears for a last time, caressing Miguel, who returns home alone in the sundown.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% out of 32 critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.3/10.[5] Manhola Dargis from the New York Times praised the director's ability to show powerful relationships between the characters, particularly focusing on the complexity of Miguel’s feelings for Mariela, which she called "gratifying".[6] David Wiegang from the San Francisco Chronicle also gave the film a positive review, saying that the "film's accomplishments are many, but not the least is its ability to take a human story and frame it as a parable, without losing a bit of credibility or irresistible heart."[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

For Undertow[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Latin American News Dispatch: Interview with Javier Fuentes-León, Director of Contracorriente
  2. ^ "Sundance 2010: Winners Announced!". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Contracorriente (Undertow), writer, director Javier Fuentes-León". filmmakermagazine. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  4. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  5. ^ Undertow. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  6. ^ Undertow (2009) - Review. The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  7. ^ Review: 'Undertow' frames human story as parable
  8. ^ "Undertow (aka Contracorriente)". filmindependent.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 

External links[edit]