October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Today’s entry is about a movie that deals with this subject in a very spiritual, organic way. It is also an unusually tender ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside. It is called “Undertow” or “Contracorriente”.
"Undertow" begins with Miguel, a village fisherman, about to become a father. However, it turns out he has been having a "down-low" love affair with an artist and outsider, Santiago. When Santiago drowns suddenly, he returns from the dead to ask Miguel to find his body and bury it according to the village rituals so he can be at peace. For Miguel, to fulfill Santiago's wishes means he would have to admit to the relationship to his pregnant wife and the townspeople. But failing to do so would sentence him to eternal limbo.
This film resonated for E and I because it deals with coming out after being married to someone of the same sex. This story deals with coming to terms and discovering your authentic self. It grapples with the effects of what the truth could mean to relationships and the response/condemnation of the village/society. Ultimately it tackles the question of what it means to truly love someone and let them go.
We saw the film a couple weeks ago in San Francisco. It is now playing in Los Angeles. Go see it, and help it gain enough attention for other cities & venues to want it. Or make a note to look for it when it comes out on DVD.
2009, Peruvian with English subtitles, 100 minutes
DIRECTOR: Javier Fuentes-León
STARS: Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona, Cristian Mercado