UNDERTOW (Contracorriente)


undertow-contracorriente-feb-6thThis film, Fuentes-León’s first feature, set in a beautiful coastal area of Peru, is the touching story of young fisherman, Miguel, whose heavily pregnant wife is unaware of his stronger attachment to his lover Santiago. Tragically Santiago dies by drowning, but Miguel is comforted by his reappearance in ghost form, unseen by all but himself. This provides Fuentes-León with the opportunity to use his invisibility as a metaphor for their unseen and forbidden love. “It’s a tender, unforced, well constructed and attractively shot fable about what it is to be a man” – Nicholas Barber, The Independent (Cert 15)
Dir: Javier Fuentes-León 100 mins Peru 2009

Programme Notes

Undertow (Contracorriente)
Peru, 2009, 100mins, Cert 15

In the closed society of a small fishing village in Peru, an apparently happy man with a pregnant wife has another lover, a man. He is constrained to hide this “sin” from public knowledge, but his neighbours have suspicions fed by centuries of tradition and dogma. The ensuing events unfold in the beautiful and superficially relaxed and sensuous setting of this coastal “paradise”.

Miguel – Christian Mercado
Mariella – Tatania Astengo
Santiago – Manolo Cardona
Sra La Rosa – Attillia Boschetti
Hector – Jose Chacaltana

Director – Javier Fuentes-Leon
Producer – Rodrigo Guerrero
Music – Selma Mutal
Cinematography – Mauricio Vidal

“This scrumptiously photographed World Cinematic Dramatic contender … will not likely navigate beyond gay venues or the festival circuit”. Hollywood Reporter.
“This gay variation on the film Ghost by Peruvian writer-director Javier Fuentes-Leon is lyrical and warm-hearted”. Philip French, The Guardian.


“Beautifully filmed”

“An exceptional film, packed with great central performances. Beautiful cinematography and excellent music. Let’s hope for more Peruvian cinema soon!”

“I felt the pain of he three main characters. Really liked the communal dining scenes. Very sad!”

“A nicely shot film, and very touching. At least neither of them was called J_s_s!”

“Wonderful film – beautifully shot. And what a good baby ….”

“A simple theme developed with skill – rewarding.”

“The depiction of traditional norms in a small community was potent. In the end, perhaps he had to do what he had to do!”

“What was she feeding the baby on? It didn’t half grow! Excellent scenery.”

“Superb photography of a very scenic part of the world”

“A pretty but rather unlikely tale”

“The conceit of the ghost didn’t really work for me, although the ending was nicely orchestrated. No one did much fishing, though.”

“It needed a cameo appearance from Josiane Balasko.”

“If you ignored the fact that he was gay, it was a really dull storyline.”

“Silly story or not fantastic enough”

“Now I really am confused!”

“Thank goodness Putin doesn’t run Peru!”


A:14, B:16, C:7, D:1, E:0 to give 78%