• Goya® Awards

    Nominated Best Spanish Language Foreign Film
  • San Sebastian International Film Festival

    Sebastine Award
  • Sundance Film Festival

    Audience Award
  • Miami International Film Festival

    Audience Award
  • Outfest Los Angeles

    Special Programming Award, Artistic Achievement Frameline, Jury Award
  • Chicago International Latino Film Festival

    Audience Award
Related Films
IlliterateIlliterate(Las Analfabetas)Moisés SepúlvedaXimena is an illiterate woman in her fifties who has learned to live on her own in order to keep her illiteracy a secret. Jackeline is a young unemployed ...Bad HairBad Hair(Pelo Malo)Mariana RondónA nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this ...Naomi Campbell, It´s Not Easy to Become a Different PersonNaomi Campbell, It´s Not Easy to Become a Different Person(Naomi Campbell - No es fácil convertirse en otra persona )Nicolás Videla , Camila José DonosoThis award-winning Chilean film combines documentary and fiction to explore the life of a poor transgender woman named Yermen. Her neighbors think ...Atempa, Dreams by the RiverAtempa, Dreams by the River(Atempa, Sueños a la Orilla del Rio)Edson J. Caballero TrujilloTino dreams of becoming a “Muxe Queen”. Though born into a male body, as Tino enters adolescence, she begins to dress as a woman and embrace her ...The RockThe Rock(La Roca)Raúl SantosIn 1969, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, closed the entrance to the British territory of Gibraltar, isolating 30,000 people without food, water, or ...La YumaLa YumaFlorence JaugeyNicaragua’s first full-length feature in 20 years, La Yuma tells the story of a young woman who dreams of transcending her bleak life in the slums of ...My Grandmother’s HouseMy Grandmother’s House(La Casa de mi Abuela)Adan AliagaHow does a pop duet work out for impulsive and irreverent six-year-old Marina and 75-year-old Marita? Cheeky Marina plays to the camera, ignoring the ...The Island InsideThe Island Inside(La Isla Interior)Dunia Ayaso & Félix SabrosoA dark-hued family drama set in Spain’s Canary Islands, The Island Inside relates the story of three siblings on the run from themselves. Martin wants ...The FacilitatorThe Facilitator(El Facilitador)Victor ArreguiA political thriller about human rights, The Facilitator is one of the most successful films to come out of Ecuador in the last few years. When ...Southern DistrictSouthern District(Zona Sur)Juan Carlos ValdiviaLa Paz’s Zona Sur neighborhood is Bolivia’s most exclusive enclave and has housed the country’s affluent elite for generations. In an ...Chinese Take-AwayChinese Take-Away(Un Cuento Chino)Sebastián BorenszteinArgentina’s national treasure, Ricardo Darín, is best known for his intense dramatic performances in films such as Nine Queens, The Aura, and the ...Eternal AmazonEternal Amazon(Amazônia Eterna)Belisario FrancaThe Amazon is a vast laboratory for sustainable experiments that are revealing new relationships among human beings, corporations, and the natural ...Everybody LeavesEverybody Leaves(Todos se van)Sergio CabreraShot in Colombia (because the director didn’t get permission to film in Cuba) and featuring a cast consisting mostly of expatriate Cuban actors, ...I Am From ChileI Am From ChileGonzalo Díaz UgarteA coming of age story, I Am From Chile draws from the director’s personal experiences to tell a different kind of immigration story. I Am from ...Marimbas From HellMarimbas From Hell(Las Marimbas del Infierno)Julio Hernández CordónBoldly exploring the boundaries of fiction and documentary, up-and-coming Guatemalan filmmaker Julio Hernández Cordón’s (Gasolina) original and ...Open CageOpen Cage(Los Bañistas)Max ZuninoOpen Cage takes a subtle and ultimately hopeful look into one of society’s mayor issues: the abandonment to its youth and senior populations. Among ...I Thought It Was A PartyI Thought It Was A Party(Pense Que Iba A Haber Fiesta)Victoria Galardi“For how long is the ex-partner of a friend untouchable? Lucía (Victoria Bertuccelli, To Fool A Thief) has been separated from Ricki, the father of ...ParadiseParadise(Paraíso)Mariana ChenilloChildhood sweethearts Carmen and Alfredo live a life of quiet bliss in Satélite, a sleepy suburb outside of Mexico City. When Alfredo is offered a ...From the Land to Your TableFrom the Land to Your Table(¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Tomate?)Jorge Coira, Alejo Hoijman, Josué Méndez, Marcos Loayza Montoya, Carolina Navas, Alejandra Szeplaki, Paola VieiraSeven countries, seven popular markets, seven cultures. The first documentary of its kind, From the Land to Your Table shows the perspectives of seven ...Asier and IAsier and I(Asier ETA biok)Aitor Merino, Amaia MerinoAsier and I tells the story of the friendship between Aitor and Asier Aranguren from their time growing up together in the conflict-affected and ...
Related Subjects

Spanish with English subtitles

With Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona, Atilia Boschetti, José Chacaltana

Highly acclaimed and hugely popular gay drama about a married fisherman in love with an artist, Undertow is the winner of 39 film festival awards. Miguel is a young and handsome fisherman who lives with his beautiful pregnant wife in Cabo Blanco, a small traditional fishing village in Northern Peru. What nobody knows is that Miguel is having a passionate affair with Santiago, a painter ostracized from the community due to his sexuality and agnostic views. When Santiago drowns accidentally, Miguel has to make an important choice that could cause him to lose the people he loves the most. With its emotionally charged love story, sweeping images of the beautiful Peruvian coastline, and excellent cast, Undertow examines the complicated intersection of manhood, masculinity, sexuality, and tradition.



Students loved the topic of the film and were surprised at a point of how well this issue was treated. They enjoyed the film and its narrative style.” – María Lamarque, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce

I think that this is an excellent film on the theme of culture and sexuality and will encourage my students to seek it out to view it.
– Lea Ramsdell, Associate Professor, Towson University

This film resonated with everyone to demonstrate how different same sex rights are in countries outside the United States. The ending became a talking point as audience members attempted to understand where Miguel stood in the community.” – Heather Carnahan, Graduate Student, Illinois State University

About the Director
Javier Fuentes was granted a scholarship from the OAS and moved to Los Angeles where he pursued an M.F.A. in film directing at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His short film Rooms (Espacios) was awarded by the National Film Board of Peru (CONACINE). In 1998, Javier started his career in film and TV in the U.S., becoming the main writer of TV shows for Telemundo and editor of commercials and TV shows. Javier also worked on his own projects throughout these years. He wrote and directed his most recent short film, Gemini (Geminis), which screened in many North American film festivals, and wrote two feature scripts: The Woman Who Feared the Sun (La Mujer Que Temía Al Sol) and Undertow (Contracorriente) which he started to write in 2003 under the mentorship of John August (Big Fish) and John Cooper (Director of the Sundance Film Festival). Undertow has received multiple awards and distinctions.

“Writer-director Javier Fuentes-Leon’s directorial debut…is sublime…a level of insightful psychological layering whose payoff might leave you weeping.” – Ernest Hardy, SAN FRANCISCO WEEKLY

“…gorgeous and heartbreaking. Jumping out of Seat” – David Wiegand, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“…Lovely, lyrical, near-universally romantic, and ends on a quiet grace note that is bittersweet perfection.” – Dennis Harvey, SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN

“A delicate drama about a Peruvian villager’s struggle to keep his gay love affair hidden” – Tim Grierson, THE SCREEN DAILY

“A small movie with a full heart, Undertow takes an old idea — the loving, lingering ghost — and gives it reverberant, resuscitated life.” – Manhola Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Lyrical, poignant…it quickly casts a seductive, sensual spell. A wholly unified work of art, suffused in an inviting atmosphere, incorporating supernatural elements with the greatest of ease, compelling storytelling and completely natural yet succinct, sympathetic portrayals. Gorgeous cinematography and a plaintive score complete the intuitively well-blended ingredients that constitute Undertow.” – Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“This poetic gem about loss and the consequences of a passionate but hidden gay relationship in a tiny ocean-side village of modest fishermen deservedly won Sundance’s World Cinema Audience Award and represents Peru’s bid for an Oscar nom.” – Doris Toumarkine, FILM JOURNAL

“Strikingly photographed to accentuate the majestic Peruvian coastline, this sexy, haunting love story transcends place and time.” – David Courier, SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

“Brokeback Mountain meets Ghost gets you halfway there, but this is a measured, delicate film, set in a vividly evoked landscape.” – Steve Rose, THE GUARDIAN

“Critic’s Pick. “A modern-day fable…as beautiful as it is agonizing.” – Stephanie Merry

“Undertow (Contracorriente) crests on a technical level. Mauricio Vidal’s luminous lensing of the gorgeous coastline, punctuated by many eye-popping John Ford-like silhouettes from under cave arches, is the film’s highlight.” – Duane Byrne, The Hollywood Reporter

“This film resonated with everyone to demonstrate how different same sex rights are in countries outside the United States. The ending became a talking point as audience members attempted to understand where Miguel stood in the community.” – Heather Carnahan, Graduate Student, Illinois State University

“Undertow’s three impassioned lead performances and Fuentes-León’s honest engagement with thorny matters of identity, sexuality and community still make it an easy movie to get swept up by.” – Eric Hynes, TIME OUT NEW YORK

Notes on Film

Undertow (Contracorriente) is my first feature film, a very personal project in which I explore themes that I believe are very relevant today. Having lived a long time away from Peru has allowed me to see with a new perspective certain aspects of the society in which I grew up, and to realize that the concept of “manhood” can sometimes be very distorted there (as it is in almost all of Latin America), and be replaced by poorer and more limited definitions that have less to do with honor and authenticity and more with masculinity and power. In a way, Undertow was born out of a personal quest to define what it is to be a true man and how manhood relates to sexual identity. There is an alarming void of role models for the Latin American men and women who are struggling to define their sexual identity. My goal with Undertow is to tell a passionate and engrossing story that can connect with a wide audience, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that can help fill that void. After all, Undertow is a love story, and as such is a story for everybody.