We Are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa) (2013) MIFF Review


Mexico (95 min)

We Are Mari Pepa follows Alex, a sixteen-year-old boy in urban Mexico who lives with his grandmother and has little aspirations beyond playing in a band with his mates. But as they move on, finding other things in life such as girls, jobs and parties, he is left to figure out what to do.

It was great seeing this side of Mexico, a side that is quite different to the dusty border towns so typically depicted in films and television. But for me, that was pretty much all I liked about the film. Not that it doesn’t have some charm in the way it shows that teenagers in Mexico are pretty much the same as those in Melbourne; teasing each other, calling each other names, joking, swearing a lot and talking about sex.

What it could have used was tighter editing. It was one of those types of films where nothing much happens for an hour and a half. Yes, his life changes, but a lot of the most interesting, key stuff is missed, and the rest is dragged out. Lots. I’m curious as to why it was chosen as part of the Next Gen program with school screenings as I think many students would become extremely restless, and if I needed to listen to a group of teenagers singing the band’s misogynistic song for the rest of the term (as they would no doubt do) I would be very quickly coming to the end of my tether.

We Are Mari Pepa is part of the Next Gen program and has school screenings on Wednesday August 6 at 1:30pm and Thursday August 14 at 11am at ACMI. Book through ATOM http://www.metromagazine.com.au/screenings.asp

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