Best Documentary Feature
Tribeca Film Festival
Documentary Competition ~ Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film
Tribeca Film Festival
A tender, heartbreaking look at Mexico, its history, and culture....a unique film that finds hope after grief.



To reflect on the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, director Rodrigo 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 Hernán Cortes' 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 nonfiction 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." -Jim Jarmusch

"...a tender, heartbreaking look at Mexico, its history, and culture....a unique film that finds hope after grief while still remembering the sins of its past." - Film Threat

"Bold, unique, and strikingly cinematic." - Cinema Tropical

"A unique look at modern day Mexico....Covering five hundred years of history in less than an hour and a half is a daunting task. Director Rodrigo Reyes does just that in
499." - AIPT

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
Not Rated
Docu-drama, Documentary, History, Politics & World Affairs, Drama
Spanish, Nahuatl
Rodrigo Reyes
Eduardo San Juan
Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival
Winner, Documentary Competition ~ Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film, Tribeca Film Festival
Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com

Brooding skies over a land in disarray witness a nameless soldier in ancient regalia washing ashore. Once part of Hernan Cortes’ army that savagely conquered Tenochtitlan in 1521, this bearded Spanish strongman has lost his vigor. A female narrator explains the unexplainable: a fissure in the fabric ...

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