English Title: Undertow
Original Title: Contracorriente
Country: Peru, Colombia, France, Germany
Director: Javier Fuentes-Leon
Writer: Javier Fuentes-Leon
It is a 2011 Oscar Foreign Film submission film from Peru, it is said to be a gay-version of GHOST (1990), nonetheless nowadays gay-themed films are ubiquitous, how come this mini-budget film could stand out?
I am immediately attracted by the coastal surroundings of the Peru coastline, in an unvarnished but conservative village, the homosexual story becomes more appealing and the conflict exacerbates while the still-in-the-closet protagonist is going to be a father.
Although the topic is a mere platitude, the films revolves intimately around traditional religion beliefs and the resolution to face who you are, also the psychic contrivance incises into the film with some credibility, I find it is the most distinguishing feature of the film.
It is a pity the charisma doesn’t last until the end, in the second half, I can tell that the film is kinda in the cul-de-sac, I foreboded it will end in an encouraging but predictable way, and it turned out to be the truth, I felt a little bit disappointed, but I didn’t have the heart to blame it as it is the safest way to finish the film instead of arousing some controversy (at least we are able to relief ourselves after the film because of its positive conclusion).
The performances are uneven, Manolo Cardona is so handsome that he doesn’t need to act as the artistic and tender lover; the main struggle is between Cristian Mercado and Tatiana Astengo, a situation alike Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2006), the scenes between them are over-manipulated and the dialogues are hackneyed.
I think it is not too realistic for the film to be nominated in BEST FOREIGN FILM category, nevertheless it does render a bit of fresh breath from a remote South-American country, I will be exulted to see some miracles in the coming Oscar nomination!