A cute little love story between two Chicana teenagers, Mosquita y Mari is innocent enough for a viewing with Grandma (seriously, their tentative caresses don’t even count as making out), but it’s a tender indie flick worth seeing.
Yolanda (Fenessa Pineda) and Mari (Venecia Troncoso) are high school classmates and neighbors growing up in Huntington Park, a struggling, predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles County. The daughter of strict, hard-working immigrants Yolanda is the picture perfect straight A student, while Mari is the seductive rebel. A touch of triteness perhaps, but a realistic portrayal of a marginalized group of teens that could use a lot more media representation than they get. And the characters are whole enough that you can empathize without feeling that this is just like every good girl meets bad girl story ever told.
The young actresses are also a big part of why this story felt original. As Yolanda, Fenessa Pineda delicately reveals her character’s inner conflicts. As Mari, Venecia Troncoso smolders as the bad-girl-with-a-big-heart. She manages to be both youthfully exuberant and sultry, which is an on screen dream.
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.
With an unsteady attraction but a real friendship M&M also doesn’t fall into other tropes, namely the stereotypical tales of star crossed lovers or unrequited love. Instead this semi-autobiographical movie, written and directed by Aurora Guerrero, is about dealing with powerful personal and social undercurrents, while also being about young love and exploration.
Check out the trailer below:
Mosquita y Mari screens Saturday September 29th, 5pm at Cinema 21 (616 NE 21st) as part of the annual Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
About Alley Hector
Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.