See the Trailer and Poster For the U.S. Theatrical Release of “499” by Rodrigo Reyes, Opens August 20.
Cinema Guild Announces the U.S. Theatrical Release of 499, a Bold and Provocative Exploration of the Contemporary Legacies of Colonialism Marking the 500th Anniversary of the Conquest of Mexico.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs and the Best Cinematography Award at Tribeca, the Unique
Docu-Fiction Hybrid by Rodrigo Reyes Opens August 20 at BAM Rose Cinemas in New York City, Followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco, Before Opening Nationwide.
Cinema Guild is proud to present the U.S. theatrical release of 499, the fourth feature film by Mexican-American director Rodrigo Reyes. Reflecting on the 500-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 2021, Reyes offers a bold hybrid cinema experience exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize in the international feature documentary competition at the 2020 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, and winner of the Best Cinematography Award in the documentary competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, 499 opens on Friday, August 20 at BAM Rose Cinemas in New York City, followed by runs at the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles, and the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, before continuing on to a national rollout.
Through the eyes of a ghostly conquistador (played by newcomer Eduardo San Juan Breña), Reyes recreates Hernán 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 victims and subjects of Mexico’s failed drug wars, 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.
Marking the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest on August 13, 2021, and preceding the film’s U.S. theatrical release, the filmmaking team has organized a Mexican tour for 499 following Cortés’ original route from Veracruz to present-day Mexico City, taking place from July 31 to August 11. The program will visit towns along the conquistador’s path, hosting special screenings of the film alongside conversations on the history of Mexico and the ongoing social problems that each community has faced in the aftermath of colonization.
499. USA/Mexico, 2020, 88 min. In Spanish and Nahuatl with English subtitles. Director: Rodrigo Reyes; Producers: Inti Cordera, Andrew Houchens; Screenwriter: Rodrigo Reyes, Lorena Padilla; Executive Producers: Steve Holmgren, Carter Logan; Co-Producer: David Felix Sutcliffe; Consulting Producer: Su Kim; Cinematographer: Alejandro Mejía, AMC; Editors: Andrea Chignoli, Daniel Chávez Ontiveros; Music: Pablo Mondragón; Made with the support of: Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), Sundance Documentary Fund, Tribeca Pond5 Award. Cast: Eduardo San Juan Breña.
About the Director
Rodrigo Reyes is a Mexican-born American director whose films include the documentary Purgatorio and the dramatic narrative Lupe Under the Sun. He has screened in nearly fifty film festivals around the world, including Morelia, BFI London, and MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, garnering rave reviews in The New York Times, Variety and other media outlets, as well as multiple jury awards. Named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine, he has received significant support for his work from the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute and more; his work has been featured on America ReFramed and Netflix. He is a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and the Creative Capital Award.