Javier Fuentes-León on UNDERTOW: Fantasy Film Podcast

Torn Between Two Worlds: Ghost lover Manolo Cardona (center of image) and pregnant wife Tatiana Astengo (far right) put the pressure on Cristian Mercado in UNDERTOW.

Torn Between Two Worlds: Ghost lover Manolo Cardona (center of image) and pregnant wife Tatiana Astengo (far right) put the pressure on Cristian Mercado in UNDERTOW.

The triangles just keep getting more complicated, don’t they? In the new Peruvian film, UNDERTOW, fisherman Miguel (Cristian Mercado) is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his child by his wife Mariel (Tatiana Astengo), while at the same time carrying on an affair with his male lover, the artist Santiago (Manolo Cardona). But when Santiago dies in a swimming accident and returns as a ghost who can only be freed when Miguel formally sets him loose, issues of love, identity, and one’s perception within a closely knit community rise to the surface. (Fitting, I guess, for a nautical community.)

Director Javier Fuentes-León is making his feature film debut here, and is employing a healthy dose of magical realism to tell his tale, giving the film as a whole a spare but appealing naturalism and imbuing the love-making sequences with a compelling sensuality. It’s a distinctive and affecting addition to fantasy film.

Click on the player to hear my interview with Javier.

About the Author

Dan Persons

DAN PERSONS is a New York-based writer who first got bit by the Cinefantastique bug when he encountered the 1979 double issue devoted to the sci-fi classic FORBIDDEN PLANET. He contributed for many years to the magazine, first as a correspondent, then as an editor.

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