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Undertow (Contracorriente): Peru''s Brokeback Mountain

Short review from AfterElton:

Undertow (Contracorriente )

What's it about? Independent thinker and painter Santiago (Manolo Cardona) is having a passionate affair with Miguel (Cristian Mercado), a married fisherman in a remote Peruvian coastal village. Since this isn't Key West, problems arise.

What did I think? This is the best independent gay movie I've seen in years. While comparisons to Brokeback Mountain are probably unfair, given the rural location, the groundbreaking performances and sex scenes, as well as the damage wrought by the closet on married gay/bi men and their wives, comparisons are also probably inevitable.

But make no mistake, this is no mere Brokeback Mountain repeat. Something happens halfway through that spins the story off in an entirely unexpected direction, and that allows for a poignancy that rivals BBM. And while the ending can't be called happy, it is satisfying in a way that the story of Jake and Ennis wasn't.

The acting, the writing and the cinematography are all top notch, and I find it depressing that a movie from South America is so superior to anything produced lately in the U.S.

I highly recommend you see it as soon as you get the chance.

by Ennis del Marreply 1701/29/2015

Gay couples in films don't get to have "happy endings". No thanks- I've seen this-a million times before.

by Ennis del Marreply 106/04/2010

Ooooh, for ONE night with Manolo Cardona Momma's mussy would open WIDER than a child's eyes at CHRISTMAS!

by Ennis del Marreply 206/04/2010

As if every straight couple gets a happy ending?

by Ennis del Marreply 306/04/2010

Thank you, r3

by Ennis del Marreply 406/04/2010

No, fuck you R3. You're full of shit. There are a million breeder films with happy endings. Go away cunt.

by Ennis del Marreply 506/04/2010

Old ass thread resurrected....I know.

But I just saw this movie for the first time and really liked it. It was a good surprise because I didn't know anything about it.

I think I like movies that have ambiguously unhappy endings like this did.

The main character is a difficult man to like and so while I usually would want the protagonist to end up happy or in love, his ending feels right.

by Ennis del Marreply 611/22/2012

Why must the gay always die? Especially commit suicide!

I would have liked this movie so much more if the guy had not committed suicide. Such a cliche.

by Ennis del Marreply 711/22/2012

Suicide? I must have missed that. Didn't he say it was an accident - that the current was much stronger than he was expecting?

by Ennis del Marreply 811/22/2012

I just saw this yesterday and was quite impressed - as per my blog report (below): - it was screened by a BBC channel here in UK last weekend:

Spoilers, if you have not seen it:

"What we have here we have a BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN type drama from Peru.

The debut feature from Javier Fuentes-Leon appears to address issues of masculinity, sexuality, faith and family with audacious honesty, against a Latin American macho background (where the men only watch football on tv while their women watch the soaps). Fisherman Miguel is duplicitious as he cheats on wife Mariela with visiting gay painter Santiago. Then Santiago drowns and reappears as a ghost whom only Miguel can see (don't laugh...), so he feels he can happily continue living with his pregnant wife who is about to give birth, and with his lover whom nobody else sees ... Santiago though has left lots of paintings of Miguel at his house and the villagers soon realise what Miguel has been up to with the painter they did not like and who did not fit in, so Miguel is then ostracised by his friends. Santiago can only rest if his body is found and given proper burial by the man who loved him - Miguel though does find the body but keeps it hidden so he can continue his double life ..... and then one day the body is found. Can he find the courage to stand up to his macho culture and Santiago's family and claim the body and give it a loving burial? This may seem like a bizarre fantasy but is played out in nice visuals, the poor village looks a treat with those nice colours, and yes our hero (?) does the right thing - and earns the respect of his villagers ... his wife is not so pleased though as she leaves with their baby, but perhaps she will be back.

One either responds to this totally in which case it will be quite involving and moving, or not. The 3 leads are exemplary: Cristian Mercado as Miguel, Manolo Cardona as Santiago and Tatiana Astengo is marvellously multi-faceted as the confused wife Mariela who slowly begins to suspect her husband is involved with the painter. Life in the village is no fun for Santiago - while he was alive - as the natives don't like him and he can only see Miguel in secret, then he has to hang around when he is dead too .... one telling moment has Mariela returning home to find her husband and baby asleep on the sofa with the tv soap channel on - wearily she turns it over to the football channel and slumps down beside them ... I always felt about BBM, involving though it was, that the 2 cowboys should really have run off to San Francisco (or some other city) and opened a jeans store - lots of other country boys did, why stay when they could not be themselves and avoid making their wives unhappy. Likewise here, we can't really approve of Miguel cheating on his loving wife .... he cannot though keep up the pretence as he begins to fall apart. It's beautifully filmed though in a stunningly picturesque Peruvian fishing village. It features tender and complex performances by the actors in the lead roles, and wonderful authentic performances by native residents of the village location. The story delivers a powerful study in internal conflict, grief, redemption, and the power of love, and being true to oneself. Now for that Israeli EYES WIDE OPEN ...

by Ennis del Marreply 911/23/2012

But why does one have to die?

by Ennis del Marreply 1011/23/2012

Sorry, but if this were an English-language movie with the exact same plot and script, you would find it laughably bad. Just try to picture it.

by Ennis del Marreply 1111/23/2012

Anyone else feel the young guy who first came to help him with the body was also secretly gay?

by Ennis del Marreply 1211/25/2012

Happy endings are boring.

by Ennis del Marreply 1311/25/2012

This was a pleasant surprise. Good movie and a beautiful ending.

On the subject of gay films, I had high hopes for "Keep the lights On" (it made the top ten from Sight & Sounds or Cahiers du cinema, one of those two) from this year but it was kind of terrible. It moves at a glaciar pace and reeks of pretension.

by Ennis del Marreply 1411/25/2012

I loved it so much, just saw it on netflix last night. i would watch it again, were it not for him being dead

by Ennis del Marreply 1501/29/2015

I also knew nothing about this film and was very pleasantly surprised. I loved it!

Loved the little detail at the end when, in a sort of outcast-to-outcast gesture, Miguel found unexpected support from the town slut, who had been mad at him at first when he turned her down but was then the first to understand him and show compassion.

by Ennis del Marreply 1601/29/2015

R1 there are tons of happy endings in gay movies nowadays. This isn't 1959. If you want happy Hollywood endings, there are many to choose from.

by Ennis del Marreply 1701/29/2015
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