Gay Essential Films To Watch, Undertow (Contracorriente)

Undertow (Contracorriente) follows the events in a small fishing village in Peru, and the young fisherman of Miguel (Cristian Mercado). His wife, Mariela (Tatiana Astengo) is pregnant with their first son, and knows nothing of Miguel’s secret affair with Santiago (Manolo Cardona), a painter who also lives in the village.

One day, Santiago drowns in the sea by accident, and his ghost returns to Miguel to tell him to find the body so that the village’s specific burial and death traditions may be respected. Miguel does eventually find the body, but chooses not to tell the ghost immediately, preferring to have a little more time with Santiago, even if only in ectoplasmic form. Meanwhile, other villagers find nude paintings of Miguel in Santiago’s house, leading to all kinds of rumors.

Mariela confronts Miguel about this, and he breaks down and confesses to his affair, resulting in Mariela instantly going to her mother’s home with their child. Miguel then goes out to find Santiago’s body again, but it’s disappeared, only to turn up in a fishing net later. Miguel decides to give a burial at sea, after which the ghost of Santiago appears one last time to caress and comfort Miguel.

Undertow

Critics

“Sensual and romantic with a heavy dose of the supernatural and populated by indelible characters.”
   Pam Grady, Boxoffice Magazine

“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, San Francisco Chronicle

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

Did You Know?

Undertow had been gestating since 1996, when the director Javier Fuentes-León wrote the very first scene. Originally conceived of as a supernatural revenge thriller about a fisherman having an affair with a prostitute, Javier decided to change it after coming out of the closet himself, in an attempt to explore more interesting themes and material. Review our Gay Themed Films Here

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All pictures reproduced courtesy of Wolfe Releasing

Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
Alexander Ryll

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