2020 Official Selection: Features

New York Premiere

FEATURE | Mexico | 88 MINUTES | Nahuatl, Spanish | English subtitles


Experimental, Documentary

Stranded in modern-day Mexico, a 16th-century conquistador (Eduardo San Juan) begins a journey, visiting bereaved relatives of murdered activists, exploring haunting strip clubs, and traversing misty mountains. A narrator brings to life text from old diaries, as the time traveler crosses over dunes and through bustling cities, detailing accounts of how the Spanish dehumanized the societies with whom they met, and with what impunity they maneuvered and battled. There are hints of remorse over the violence they unleashed, but these are few and far between.

Director Rodrigo Reyes combines documentary and a bit of fiction, using magical realism to draw a parallel between the apocalyptic sacking of Tenochtitlan and the harsh reality of many modern-day Mexicans. The carefully crafted cinematography and the dream-like style of the film serve as a gentle backdrop for the restrained tenacity and stubborn hope of all the migrants, activists, and grieving mothers. In bringing these issues to the forefront, 499 can provide a way for a country and it’s citizens to finally start healing from centuries old wounds.—Deborah Rudolph

Co-hosted by


Rodrigo Reyes is a Mexican-American director whose work received support from Tribeca, Sundance Film Institutes, and the Mexican Film Institute. Rodrigo is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Creative Capital Award.

Rodrigo Reyes
Inti Cordera, Andrew Houchens
Rodrigo Reyes, Lorena Padilla
Alejandro Mejía
Andrea Chignoli, Daniel Chávez Ontiveros
Executive Producer
Steve Holmgren, Carter Logan
Consulting Producer
Su Kim, David Felix Sutcliffe
Eduardo San Juan Breña


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