499- A film by Rodrigo Reyes (9/3- 9/17)
To reflect on the 500-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 2021, director Reyes offers a bold hybrid cinema experience exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico. Through the eyes of a ghostly conquistador, the film recreates Hérnan Cortés’ epic journey from the coasts of Veracruz to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the site of contemporary Mexico City. As the anachronistic fictional character interacts with real-life victims of Mexico’s failed drug wars and indigenous communities in resistance, the filmmaker portrays the country’s current humanitarian crisis as part of a vicious and unfinished colonial project, still in motion, nearly five hundred years later.
Provocative, unique, and strikingly cinematic, 499 mixes non-fictional and performative elements with elements of the road movie to show how past traumas continue to affect contemporary reality. While linking these seemingly disparate histories of violence, the film confirms Reyes as one of the most potent voices in American independent cinema.
“Rodrigo Reyes has created a strong, beautiful and disturbing film that seems to occupy a genre all its own… 499 deftly weaves brutality with tender beauty, and harsh reality with the realm of dreams.”
“An epic, enchanting road movie that travels seamlessly through time.”
Festivals & Awards
Winner: Best Cinematography – Tribeca Film Festival 2020
Winner: Special Jury Prize – HotDocs 2020
Winner: Special Jury Prize – EBS International Documentary Film Festival, Korea 2020
Official Selection – Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2020
Official Selection – Sao Paulo International Film Festival 2020
The Apohadion Theater and SPACE are pleased to co-present 499 as part of an ongoing series of virtual film screenings in 2021.