Tribeca Section: Documentary Competition
“499” examines the brutal legacy of colonialism nearly five centuries after Cortez arrived in the Aztec Empire. The Spanish Conquistador led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century.
Directed by Rodrigo Reyes, the hybrid docu-fiction film arrives at a time when the legacy of colonial rule across Latin America, Africa, and Asia continues to inspire volumes of scholarship on the issue, and what is effectively a new form of colonialism — aka neocolonialism — takes hold in those very same regions.
Reyes’ film promises to link the past to the present, in a bold, and strikingly cinematic style, to show how past traumas continue to affect contemporary reality, while offering a challenge to overcome these cycles of violence. —TO