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Undertow

2009 Drama

A man struggles to come to terms with the unexpected consequences of a secret love in this drama from director Javier Fuentes-León. Miguel (Cristian Mercado) supports himself and his family as a fisherman in a small town on the coast of Peru. Miguel is happily married to Mariela (Tatiana Astengo), who is pregnant with their first child, and the couple are well respected in their community and active in the local church. But there's a side of Miguel that he keeps hidden from most people -- Miguel is also in love with Santiago (Manolo Cardona), an artist who is spending time in the village, and the two have secretly been having an affair. Santiago drowns one evening while swimming, and his ghost visits Miguel, telling him that his spirit will not know peace until Miguel finds the courage to tell the community about their love. While some suspect Miguel is hiding something when nude paintings of him are found in Santiago's home, Miguel isn't sure where to find the courage to confess his bisexuality to his wife and neighbors. Undertow (aka Contracorriente) was an official selection in World Cinema program the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award for Best World Dramatic Feature. more..

Director: Javier Fuentes-León

Starring: Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona, Atilia Boschetti, José Chacaltana

Reviews

  • This small 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.

    David Wiegand - The San Francisco Chronicle

    11 May 2013

  • Sensual and romantic with a heavy dose of the supernatural and populated by indelible characters.

    Pam Grady - Boxoffice Magazine

    11 May 2013

  • In a confident yet relaxed feature debut, Fuentes-León has created a wholly unified work of art.

    Kevin Thomas - Los Angeles Times

    11 May 2013

  • Filmmaker Javier Fuentes-Leon's delicately and sensuously illuminates this collision of contemporary sexuality with centuries of dogma and tradition. At times, he interjects magical realist elements into the story, which makes it confusing rather than lifting it to a higher plane of understanding.

    - The Hollywood Reporter

    11 May 2013

  • Undertow, for all its narrative tricks, has been given the rhythm and texture of real life, as well as emotional undercurrents that are haunting.

    Bob Mondello - NPR

    11 May 2013

Awards

  • Best Film (Mejor Película)

    Cartagena Film Festival (2010)

     
  • Javier Fuentes-León

    Chicago Latino Film Festival (2010)

  • Best Cinematography

    Chlotrudis Awards (2011)

     
  • Outstanding Film - Limited Release

    GLAAD Media Awards (2011)

     
  • Best Spanish Language Foreign Film (Mejor Película Hispanoamericana)

    Goya Awards (2011)