Writer-director Aurora Guerrero’s debut feature film gives audiences a glimpse into the lives of two Chicana teenage girls growing up in Huntington Park, California. Mosquita y Mari follows new neighbours Yolanda (Fenessa Pineda), who is affectionately called “Mosquita”, and Mari’s (Venecia Troncoso) close friendship, where the lines between admiration and attraction are often blurred.
Both girls come from immigrant families and have strong ties to their culture and a sense of duty towards their parents. For Yolanda, that means maintaining straight-As and getting into college. Mari, whose family is undocumented in the U.S., must help support her single mother and younger sister by working part-time jobs. After a chance encounter involving a math text book and weed, Yolanda and Mari appear inseparable—but their relationship isn’t always easy. Like most teenage girls, they know just how to fuel each other’s jealousy by prioritizing boys, other friends, and money ahead of each other.
While the relationship between Yolanda and Mari takes a long time to build, the path is beautiful. Through dreamy, faded, slow-motion shots and the passing of time marked by purple-pink sunsets, Guerrero captures that head-in-the-clouds feeling of first love perfectly, even if it’s taking place in an urbanized ghetto.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival presents Mosquita y Mari on Friday (August 17) at 7 p.m. and August 24 at 9:30 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Mosquita y Mari.