A modest box office draw when released in Argentina in April 1987, Man Facing Southeast received wider acclaim upon its video release later that year. The Secretariat of Culture submitted it for consideration by Academy of Motion Pictures for the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, though it was not nominated. Little known outside Argentina, Man Facing Southeast received wider exposure upon the 2001 release of Universal Pictures' K-PAX, whose similarity to the Argentine title (whose author and director, Eliseo Subiela, was not credited) was unmistakable to film enthusiasts and critics, among them Robert Koehler of Variety and Bob Strauss of the Los Angeles Times, both of whom expressed surprise at K-PAX author Gene Brewer's contention that Man Facing Southeast was unfamiliar to him. Film critics at MSNBC, for their part, commented that "both films are quite similar, though Man Facing Southeast is more ingenious and enigmatic. Other critics have highlighted the metaphoric value of Rantés, himself, whose miraculous powers, concern for the poor, frank criticism of human hypocrisy and willingness to subject himself to what amounts to torture create a character with a clear parallel in Christianity.
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