FILM REVIEW: Undertow
A movie set within the everyday of a small Peruvian village by the sea, Undertow will draw on the pain of its viewer.
Miguel (Cristian Mercado) and his wife are waiting on the birth of their son. This reminds us that for happiness and new life to prevail, something must die.
The early scenes show a deep sadness, a pain; the pain of death. This pain sets the tone for the whole story, exploring the pain of loneliness, pain of anger, pain of acceptance and above all the pain of honesty.
Through deceit, sadness, joy, and understanding, the ends of a secret affair are explored between Miguel and his lover. Honesty will manifest, but to what consequences?
Miguel, a fisherman, and Santiago (Manolo Cardona), an artist, pursue their relationship in secret, removed from the traditions of a strong community bond. Although one is made to empathise with this relationship, there is still a level of honesty put into question – that of an affair. Nevertheless the couple’s passion is expressed in a heart warming way.
Miguel becomes haunted by the lost soul of his lover. It is ironic that their secret gay affair is only revealed when Santiago is gone. Should Miguel continue to deny the love they one had, or will he confess his sin to his wife and community?
The concluding scenes follow Miguel walking through the village carrying Santiago’s dead body, a heart wrenching scene of self acceptance and moral courage. As the community move to support him, opinions are set aside regardless of his adulterous actions. This is purely about allowing one let go of their lover.
The film quality is beautiful and honest, giving a sense of place. Filmed in Peru, it won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic category at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Throughout the movie, a candle acts as a symbolic element; a reminder of all things that are good and bad in life. The story acts as a parable, with undertones of religious values.
Highly recommended! In a word: Poignant