Mosquita y Mari (2012)

Directed by Aurora Guerrero
Running time 1h 26m
Core concepts this week

coming of age

queer girlhood

queer gesture

View on Amazon Prime

Film background

Mosquita y Mari is a 2012 coming-of-age drama about two Latina teenage girls in Huntington Park, California (near Los Angeles). The film was written and directed by Aurora Guerrero, a queer-identified Chicana writer and director from San Francisco. The film was primarily funded through an $82,000 Kickstarter fundraiser that Guerrero organized.

Plot summary

The film opens with Yolanda (Fenessa Pineda), a Chicana teenager growing up in Huntington Park, who is attending a party with her friends, looking out of place. The next day, as she is completes her homework, she sees her new neighbor, Mari (Venecia Troncoso) riding her bike outside. She runs into Mari at a store, where Yolanda steals something while Mari covers for her. Mari transfers into Yolanda’s school, and the pair become partners in math class, although Mari is resistant to Yolanda’s overtures of assistance. Later, Mari smokes pot in a school bathroom, and when security intervenes, she pushes Yolanda out of the bathroom to protect her. Yolanda thanks her, and offers to help her study. Mari finally relents and accepts her assistance. The girls strike up a friendship and frequently work on homework together as Yolanda attempts to keep Mari engaged in her schoolwork. However, Mari is concerned about her family’s finances, and gets an after-school job that interferes with her ability to study with Yolanda. While the girls continue to spend time together, their differing priorities start to drive them apart. Additionally, a sexually charged moment between them, as well as Yolanda’s attempts to make Mari jealous by flirting with a boy, threaten to cause Mari to distance herself from Yolanda. Furthermore, after losing her job Mari engages in sex work in order to earn money for her family. Despite all the challenges they encounter, at the end of the film, the girls appear to reconcile, as they realize the strength of their connection.

Content warnings

The film includes references to off-screen sex work, as well as occasional alcohol and marijuana use.

Materials for this week

  • Lesson plans [Word doc]
  • Screening quiz [Word doc]
  • Secondary texts:
    • Day 2: Monaghan, Whitney. “Not Just a Phase: Queer Girlhood and Coming of Age on Screen,” Girlhood Studies 12.1 (2019): 98–113. (Prioritized pages, if you choose to excerpt it: p. 98-101, 103-105) [pdf]
    • Day 3: Rodríguez, Juana María. Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings. NYU Press, 2014. (Introduction. Prioritized pages, if you choose to excerpt it: p. 1-18) [pdf]

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