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Undertow (2009)

Undertow (2009)

Love finds rest in this unconventional heartfelt queer ghost story

7.7

Movie

Colombia, France
Spanish
Drama, Romance
2009
JAVIER FUENTES-LEÓN
Attilia Boschetti, Cristian Mercado, Emilram Cossío
100 min

TLDR

It’s basically Ghost, without the clunky murder mystery subplot.

What it's about

While happily married to Mariela, fisherman Miguel had a secret affair with non-native painter Santiago, until Santiago drowned at sea. However, Santiago’s ghost haunts him, so Miguel decides to search for his body to ensure Santiago passes on, while also trying to hide the affair from the rest of Cabo Blanco.

The take

The death of a loved one is always a tragedy, but it’s always different when things have been left unresolved, and so that love lingers, not moving on, perpetually haunting the lover left alive. Undertow takes this ghost story with a gentle, magic realism that doesn’t just bring the tears, but also frees Miguel to experience the hold of Santiago’s hand in public, to experience the moments other lovers share without prejudice. And as Santiago lingers, Miguel is left to reckon with the love that he never was allowed to have, as it’s outside the straight, monogamous dynamic expected of everyone in the small town. Contracorriente beautifully transforms the ghost story with its thoughtful juxtaposition of the latino queer experience.

What stands out

The ending. No spoilers, but maybe bring some tissues.

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