Sunday, November 21, 2010

Contracorriente (Undertow)

Don’t remember if I have said it before but I have a hard time watching gay interest movies; but if movie transcends the genre like Brokeback Mountain did then films become not only watchable but interesting and many times very emotional. Had to watch this film as is Peru’s submission to Oscar, but I wasn’t in a rush. Gosh I should have seen it before as had nothing to worry because Javier Fuentes-León’s opera prima has a story that slowly grows on you until the very sad end where you will shred a lot more than one tear. It’s amazing how narrative takes you almost like “by-the-hand” and slowly starts to pour emotions that become absolutely intense at the very end; in a way I’m glad that wasn’t more emotional or that had more intense emotions at the beginning as I know my heart couldn’t take it. The way it is, is enough!

Film tells the story of fisherman Miguel, married, her wife pregnant and having what looks like a casual affair with Santiago, his opposite as is a well-to-do city dweller that went to the seaside to paint and take photos. Santiago wants more but Miguel is tied by the small village traditions, prejudices, perceptions and the child on the way. One day Santiago appears in Miguel’s house to his dismal and fear that the wife could see him; but only Miguel can see him and you have to watch the rest of this story that according to his director is an exploration into what many people, especially in Latin American, tend to distort and limit: the concept of manhood. I tend to agree as definitively is a story about our own internal prejudices and fears, the consequent dishonest behavior where we lie to ourselves and the ultimate acceptance of what we are and deeply love. Story is really interesting and I suggest you don’t get lost into thinking that there is a ghost, try to imagine that is just the product of someone imagination due to intense love and surely will uncover more interesting layers to the story.

Performances are acceptable even when at times lost attention to the very interesting story due to not-so-good performing; cinematography is nice as location looks like untamed paradisiacal sea shores and once in a while director created great visual compositions, my only complaint is that there were too few.

Obviously I liked the movie a lot more than what I imagined as slowly but surely story really grows on you thanks to the “well-modulated” emotional narrative with the crescendo at the end. Film clearly is must be seen to those that enjoy the gay interest genre but I also especially recommend the movie to many that read the blog and enjoy the lesbian interest genre as even when there is nothing lesbian shown, story theme and message is one that I know will be easy to relate to.

Not sure if film is suitable for general audiences as I believe will be too soapy for them and wonder if they can relate to or understand the intensity of the story as no, this is not another Brokeback Mountain as does not have well-known actors nor the mastery of the director.

Anyway, long after I finished watching the movie I was sad and very emotional, took me a while to relax and feel good again; but then I felt very glad that I was able to watch this story.


Watch trailer @MOC

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