I’m not sure how to write a review of this film without giving spoilers but I’ll try! First, check out the trailer for the film.
You’ve probably heard of the film Mosquita y Mari because of all the awards it has won or because of the Bing Originals commercial featuring writer-director Aurora Guerrero discussing how she raised 20k overnight via kickstarter to fund the film (she raised a total of over $80k)! If you haven’t heard of how she raised the funds, here’s a Chirpstory (a series of tweets) from her talk at La Casa Azul Bookstore last week in NYC.
Below is the Bing Originals commercial:
Guerrero is a Xicana lesbian activist media maker whose film centers two young Chicanas growing up in Los Angeles’ Huntington Park community. We witness the growing friendship and love between Yolanda (Fenessa Pineda), a intelligent and quiet student living with both of her parents who work full time jobs and Mari (Venecia Troncosco) the “new girl” on the block and in school who has a rough and protective exterior and lives with her single mother and younger sister.
Some call this film a “coming of age” film, others consider it a “young love” film as there is a growing attraction between Yolanda and Mari that goes beyond their study sessions. I’d call this film one about revolutionary love. A love that is not just found in adolescence, but one that reminds us how love is inventive, ever present, surprising, and tender. Plus, the film is hilarious! The young women, their parents and community members were fantastic.
I did not expect the ending, but I’m glad it ended the way it did. I did not have the same reactions to certain decisions Yolanda and Mari made as others I saw the film with, but that’s part of the beauty of this film: the young women have power and agency. Guerrero has created two characters that are aware and conscious of the choices they make and, even if it is agency within constraints, they are not fools!
The cinematography is beautiful. There are some slow motion shots, but my favorite were the close up of Yolanda and Mari’s hair, face, hands, and eyes that really brought the love and adoration the characters had for one another to the viewer. We see how they admire certain parts of one another and that made me love them myself.
The soundtrack is also pretty fantastic! Guerrero has shared she was specific and intentional in featuring and using the musica that the community is consuming and creating. Many local bands are featured and it’s an interesting sound for my east coast centric ears to hear coming from west coast musicians.
I hope I haven’t spoiled to much already! If Mosquita y Mari is playing in your area please make plans to go see the film as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed! Who can be when a film is inspired by the writings of Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherrí Moraga, treats Chicanas as humans with dignity and respect, and honors the power of the revolutionary love they have for themselves, their families, and one another?
VL Verdict: 5 out of 5