After watching loads of crap in the film festival, here came the pleasant surprise in the form of this Peruvian small film Undertow. I am so glad I got to see this film. It is such a beautiful depiction of human emotions. Not only does the film depict the unmatched beauty of the Peruvian coastline, this bittersweet tale of a unique love-triangle set within a small fishing village explores the quest to define contemporary sexual identity.
Miguel, a respected fisherman and his beautiful bride Mariela are about to welcome their firstborn. But Miguel harbors a scandalous secret; he is also in love with a man, Santiago, a visiting artist who has been ostracized by the local community because of his sexuality. Even though Santiago is frustrated with Miguel's closetness, he still loves him and yearns for him alot. When Santiago drowns in a tragic accident involving the ocean's strong undertow, his spirit returns to Miguel in a form that only he is able to see. For the first time, they are free to express their love without fear. But Santiago remains trapped in the village, unable to cross peacefully to the other side, until his body is found and buried in accordance with the rituals of the town. In the meantime somehow news spread in the village about the 2 men's closeness. After initial denial, Miguel accepts it to his wife and because of their son promises to never ever think of him or anything. He asks Santaigo's ghost to never visit him again. Life is going well until one day his body is discoveerd. After a lot of struggle, Miguel chooses to do right by giving proper burial to Santiago, something t hat was his last wish, even if that means that his wife is going to leave him forever and the village community will ostracize him.
Oh boy! where do I even start. The story was perfect. You would think that the whole ghost aspect would make this film quirky but no, it has been handled so beautifully with emotions, its unbelievable. The love between Miguel and Santiago is pure and eternal. Miguel's struggle between his love for Santiago and his wife and son is sop real that it kills you. I loved the moments when initially Santiago's ghost comes and Miguel thinks that everything is going to be ok and they will be happy. His expressions are priceless. Best acting is when you dont have to speak and the viewer knows exactly what's going on in the actor's mind. The climax is heart wrenching. Miguel wants to do his best for his family but how can he ever forget Santiago, a person whom he always truly truly loved. When he accepts this to his wife, it kills you and finally when Miguel does the last rights, you just can't control. Performance wise, every single character in the film was splendid. The approach of the film is very gentle. Everything, from sex to death, is implied, nothing explicit. I salute the director for attempting something so brave and handling it with such sensitivity. It could easily have become a cheesy film but thank god it turned out to be a wonderful experience. By the way, the fact that both men were good looking does help too but their love, emotion, struggle everything is just pure and beautfiul.
I feel sad even while writing this. This film is a must watch. (9.5/10)
Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.