Gay Essential Films To Watch, Undertow (Contracorriente)

Undertow 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.



“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
When I couldn’t find a gay themed romantic film online via search engines or on any websites in early 2014, I created Gay Essential. launched in June 2014 we regularly promote rare and new gay-themed titles. Gay Essential is the first independent film website to categorize gay-themed films making it easier for visitors to learn about films based on their mood preference. Together with an incredible writing talent, we promote films and we make it easy for you to purchase them based on your location. Please add your support and purchase one of our incredible gay themed film T Shirts , unique and full of attitude.
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Alexander Ryll
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