‘We Are Mari Pepa’: New Life for the Coming-of-Age Genre

‘We Are Mari Pepa’

Deceptively sumptuous given its scruffy punk milieu, We Are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa) breathes unexpected life into the naturally jaded (but hormone-riddled) body of youth/skate/band/buddy flicks. Samuel Kishi Leopo’s debut is utterly faithful in its depiction of the torpor and hope that doggedly accompanies teenagers everywhere, while limning a distinctly Mexican portrait of Jalisciense life over the course of a formative summer. Flush with teen spirit–that unassailable combination of insouciance and defiance—the film ultimately yields to the more wistful moods exacted by the reality of growing up. The symbolically slammed bedroom door separating youth from senescence, the modern from the traditional, the unrepentant two-chord blast from the venerable canción unspooling on vinyl, is gradually left ajar by Leopo’s rather keen sense of nostalgia.

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