When you're younger, I always feel that you're split into three categories. Well, I did anyway. On one side was the popular group, who excelled at sports and socialising, listening to dance music and ruling schools. Then there were the nerdy crowd, who read comics and criticised television shows, showing a particular flare for tests and science. And then there the 'cooler kids', who could play instruments and rock out in a band. I remember shifting through the latter categories, sometimes staying at home and studying and the other times, watching bands and going to rock parties.
If you’ve watched enough teen dramas and coming of age independents, We Are Mari Pepa offers nothing new. Feeling in a similar vein to that of films such as The Way Way Back, We Are Mari Pepa is a hazy drama that uses the slow draw of summer as an earnest plot device. Playing in garages, attending parties and throwing jokes (and insults), Leopo has truly captured the charm of the city that isn’t exactly original but sparks with this likeability.
As mentioned before, there are moments of greatness here but the story falls into a lot of similar plot falls as dramas before hand. Combining handheld footage and stripping back a lot of dialogue, it may smatter of films done before. But the charm of Gallardo and his subsequence character Alex, pull We Are Mari Pepa into a rather poetic if not beautiful movie, especially with the depth of his care for the grandmother. Plus, the music is insanely good for a small garage rock band. It is worth a watch this summer as you recount fond memories of youth.
We Are Mari Pepa is screening as part of the East End Film Festival. It will show 18th of June at Rich Mix.