Exploring the Undertow

Undertow

13th Latin American Film Festival started in Auckland. Alexander Lowë reviews critically acclaimed Peruvian movie 'Undertow' (Contracorriente) that will be screened across NZ during the festival. Festival is a free event.

The Embassy of Chile brings up 13th Latin American Film Festival to Auckland and across New Zealand from Birkenhead to Dunedin with free screenings of 12 South American movies. Yesterday I watched critically acclaimed Peruvian movie ‘Undertow’ in the Study Centre Auditorium at the Albany Campus of Massey University. The movie was nominated for Oscar for the best foreign language movie.

Watch the movie trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm1-tDY-esU&feature=player_embedded#t=0

In this movie a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions. Miguel, a handsome young fisherman, and his wife Mariela, are about to welcome their first child. But Miguel harbours a scandalous secret. He’s in love with Santiago, an artist, who is ostracized by the town because he’s gay. A tragic accident brings to the surface powerful undertow of Miguel’s personality and his suppressed sexuality, shaking the entire village and touching the life of everybody.

‘Undertow’ caught me in its grip and took me away to a different world. It is cinematography in its finest, echoing restrained intensity and beauty of Oscar winning movies 'The Piano' and 'Brokeback mountain'. Simple and brilliant, it is set in a beautiful seaside village in Peru and shows us a handful of masterfully painted characters, strong and most believable even in minor roles. We learn about unique culture and customs of the village and adore the colourful scenery. Nature is one the protagonists in the movie, where ocean is intimately connected to people from birth to death, providing food, inspiration and hope, relieving pain, caressing lovers in sensual embrace, and even consuming the dead. We can almost smell it, rolling with heroes in the sand among the waves, feeling the breeze and sun touching our skin.

Good story resonates with the audience and ‘Undertow’ transferred me into my past, I drowned in the ocean of my own memories, lamenting the loss of my relationship, recalling how I used to cling to the cherished memories, not letting the past go, falling into illusion and denial, hallucinating along with the main hero.

We seems we can relate to so many things in this surreally real movie as it gives a fresh multidimensional take on a banal love triangle story making us see torment of bisexual man trying to be good and make it through, torn between his responsibilities and desires. Each character is portrayed with sympathy letting us watch without blaming or judging how beautiful drama unfolds before our eyes with all its intimate psychological details, learning from it and growing to be better humans. The movie manages to transcend gay movie category into great movie story capable of making you cry at least once.

'Undertow' showtimes

Wanganui- Wanganui Regional Museum
5:00pm on Saturday 13th September 2014

Christchurch- University of Canterbury
6:30pm on Monday 15th September 2014

New Plymouth- The Mayfair
1:00pm on Saturday 20th September 2014

Dunedin- The Terrace Bar
8:00pm on Thursday 25th September 2014

Hamilton- University of Waikato
6:00pm on Friday 26th September 2014

Palmerston North- Palmerston North City Library
7:00pm on Saturday 18th October 2014

Birkenhead- Birkenhead Library
5:15pm on Monday 20th October 2014

Auckland – Massey University
7:00pm on Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Birkenhead- Birkenhead Library
8:00pm on Wednesday 22nd October 2014

For more information on festival visit http://www.lasffnz.co.nz/

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