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Mosquita Y Mari: Sundance Film Review

Mosquita y Mari

The Bottom Line

Heartfelt depiction of first-crush love for two Chicana girls.

Director, Screenwriter

Aurora Guerrero

Producer

Chad Burris

Cast

Fenessa Pineda, Venecia Troncoso, Laura Patalano, Joaquin Garrido, Dulce Maria Solis, Omar Leyva
 

 

This low budget coming of age story follows two L.A. teens as they forge a unique friendship and face big decisions.

Park City – Opposites attract in this Chicana coming-of-age movie. A tender and personal look into a first-crush, filmmaker Aurora Guerrero is impressive in her first feature outing.

Centering on two 15-year-old girls in Huntington Park, Mosquita Y Mari shows the distance between the high towers of L.A. and the immigrant community a few miles east of it. In this illuminating glimpse into a personal world, Yolanda (Fenessa Pineda) is a good-girl; the high-achiever whose immigrant parents pin their dreams on her. They pressure her to do well, but their advice does not necessarily apply to her high-school world and the personal awakening she confronts.

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Yolanda is paired with a newcomer, Mari (Venecia Troncoso), who her polar opposite. She's a blossoming, fiery beauty just snuck-in from Mexico with her single Mom and younger sister. Mari's stunning looks and street cunning belie a frightened girl with low self-esteem who yearns for her deceased father.   

In this special case, opposites attract and the two become fast friends. The adventurous Mari leads Yolanda on a series of escapes which invigorate her, while Yolanda's persistent encouragement lifts Mari's fear of failing at school. Unspooling slowly but in a groping progression, Yolanda discovers that she is truly gay.  It's something she must hide from her stolid Catholic parents, as well as her boy-crazy peers.

It's a tricky tale that the two teen leads individualize. As Yolanda, Fenessa Pineda delicately reveals her character's inner conflicts. As Mari, Venecia Troncoso smolders as the bad-girl-with-a-big-heart. Troncoso's sultry looks and nuanced, exuberant portrayal should attract the attention of L.A. casting agents.

The parents get high grades also: Joaquin Garrido and Laura Patalano as Yolanda's controlling parents, and Dulce Maria Solis as the single-mom with a wild-child on her hands.

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The film shows its low-budget nature in the aesthetics: unsteady camera work, for instance. Yet, its shortcomings are assets in this gritty, verite piece.

It's a robust work of self-discovery for two girls at the most awkward and confusing years of their young lives, and a testament to Aurora Guerrero's storytelling prowess.

Production company: Indion Entertainment

Director, Screenwriter:Aurora Guerrero

Producer: Chad Burris

Cast: Fenessa Pineda, Venecia Troncoso, Laura Patalano, Joaquin Garrido, Dulce Maria Solis, Omar Leyva.

Director of photography: Magela Crosignani

Production designer: Dalila Mendez

Music: Ryan Beveridge

Editor: Augie Robles

No rating,  85 minutes