If All Cheerleaders Die and Joe + Belle seemed too over the top and subtlety is what you go for, we may have just the thing. Mosquita y Mari (2012) is a gem of an independent film that slipped through many people’s fingers.
It tells a coming of age story of two Chicana girls in Southeast LA who meet each other with completely different attitudes about school and life. Yolanda is a straight A student with hopes of achieving the American Dream and Mari is just trying to get through each day and support her family. Through Yolanda’s offer of homework help, they forge not only a friendship, but an idyllic world of self-expression that collides against the pressures of their home life.
It’s tender, it’s poignant, and it captures a struggle between environment and individuality in a way that many blockbuster (and indie films, to be honest) don’t manage to capture–that is the exploration of individuality and sexuality among young people in diaspora communities.