We all have those independent and/or foreign films that show up on our Netflix Suggestions queue or Amazon Prime account that we’ve never heard of before, don’t recognize the actors, and can’t imagine why these titles keep popping up on our screens. And for some reason, we feel compelled to watch them, yet never do.
Well, I do watch them. As many of them as I can, as often as I can. And, they often end up being wonderful and stay with me for a long time. So, as a courtesy, every week on Uncharted Filmhaus, I will be exploring these “uncharted” films, nudging you in the direction of finally watching them, and opening your movie vault to some completely new genres of film and methods of storytelling.
This week’s film that you’re curious about but never watched is:
Mamitas poses as a simple coming-of-age film that captures the point-in-time story of two teenagers living in Southern California. However, when we give this movie the attention it deserves, we quickly realize just how unique and multifaceted it really is. In fact, the title alone proves clever and subtle upon conclusion and further reflection of the film. The two most important aspects of this film that prevent it from falling into the category of “Common Adolescent Struggle” movies are found in its presentation of culture and ethnicity and its approach to maturity via its use of strong female characters.
Regarding ethnicity and culture, this is the first film I have come across that showcases the trials and tribulations of Latino teenagers, while refusing to employ the common misconception that their trials and tribulations are due to their being Latino. They have challenges in life and they’re Latino. One is not dependent upon the other. Their identities are not belittled or limited to their race. This allows for the unique opportunity to present just how beautiful and dynamic a Spanish-speaking heritage can be when viewed through the lens of comfort and family.
As for strength and the development of character, the film very wisely utilizes the concepts of vulnerability and femininity to conquer the often stubborn and counter-intuitive nature of strong male leads. By the end, we see just what it means to grow up in a twenty-first century America, not solely as Latinos or Caucasians or other exclusive groups, but as people. I recommend this movie as an opportunity to grab a new perspective on adolescence in America.
So sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn & stretch your legs, your mind, and your soul.