499 years after the fall of the Aztec civilization, a 16th century Spanish conqueror follows the tracks of Hernán Cortés. During his journey he meets real people who live in the current territory of the ancient Aztec Empire: he can only stay quiet and listen to their testimonies.
Tenochtitlán, nowadays known as Mexico City, has become strange and immense. The conqueror discovers the reality of family members of murdered people, of migrants in extremely vulnerable situations, of friends of missing people ... He might look like none of this goes with him, but the heroic deeds from
Mexican director Rodrigo Reyes builds an original road movie through an imaginary conqueror that travels through Mexico. The terrible events of colonialism continue to fester and perpetuate a cycle of perverse violence. The power of magic realism offers an imaginative way to heal the traumas of a past marked by abuse of power and oppression.
Best Photography at the Tribeca Film Festival and Special Jury Award at Hot Docs.
"499" is a sad portrait of Mexican reality in which, supported by majestic photography and a confident central performance, Rodrigo Reyes exploits a well-crafted concept to recreate a path of colonialism, parallels and tragedies.— Ricardo Gallegos · La Estatuilla
A hypnotic, devastating look at the scars of Latin American colonialism.— Nathanael Hood · The Young Folks
By mixing time-warping fiction with documentary has allowed director Rodrigo Reyes to inventively capture at a glance at almost five centuries of Mexican history.— Glenn Dunks · The Film Experience