Cinema Tropical and FiGa Films have announced the New York theatrical premiere run of Samuel Kishi Leopo’s We Are Mari Pepa (pictured), August 15 - 21, at Anthology Film Archives. An official selection of the Berlin, AFI and Morelia film festivals, Kishi Leopo’s "tender, pitch-perfect coming-of-ager" (Variety) is at the forefront of a new wave of Mexican filmmakers emerging from the city of Guadalajara.
Kishi Leopo’s debut feature film, expanded from his earlier short film, is a finely observed, heartfelt chronicle of the lives and loves of a group of school-age punk rockers in Guadalajara as they approach the transition into adulthood.
Beautifully unhurried and uneventful, We Are Mari Pepa focuses on its protagonists’ milieu and on the rhythm of their daily lives rather than on contrived plot mechanics, observing as they make music, barely tolerate their uncomprehending families, kill time, and look for love. Having just completed their school year, the boys find themselves facing the daunting realities of growing up, in a world where they have few options and where they’re destined to grow apart from each other.
We Are Mari Pepa is distinguished above all by the terrific performances from its four teenage leads, whose astonishingly natural rapport with each other seems too genuine to be faked – indeed, that they happen to be real-life childhood friends lends the film a strong dose of documentary authenticity. Showing a sure hand in his direction of these non-professional actors, as well as a keen compositional eye and an indelible sense of place, Kishi Leopo has created a film that is both funny and bittersweet.
Watch the trailer: