Mi Vida Loca

Mi Vida Loca

4.8 5
Director: Allison Anders

Cast: Allison Anders, Angel Aviles, Seidy Lopez, Jacob Vargas

     
 

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Neighborhood pride runs deep in Echo Park, so when two lifelong friends join the local gang as a matter of course, they're handed down gang names from the previous generation of homegirls. Unfortunately, Sad Girl (Angel Aviles) and Mousie (Seidy Lopez) don't remain friends for long. When Mousie withdraws into herself to cope with the responsibilities of young… See more details below

Overview

Neighborhood pride runs deep in Echo Park, so when two lifelong friends join the local gang as a matter of course, they're handed down gang names from the previous generation of homegirls. Unfortunately, Sad Girl (Angel Aviles) and Mousie (Seidy Lopez) don't remain friends for long. When Mousie withdraws into herself to cope with the responsibilities of young motherhood after bearing the child of her one true love, Ernesto (Jacob Vargas), Sad Girl and Ernesto turn to each other for comfort. Soon, Sad Girl herself ends up pregnant, and warm sisterhood cools to an icy feud. Ernesto starts dealing drugs to support his two young families -- and to outfit the gussied-up low rider that he hides from both of his unsuspecting girlfriends. The economic and romantic entanglements of these three characters serve as the entry point into this multifaceted exploration of L.A. street life, but Mi Vida Loca rapidly expands in scope to take in other characters, most of them female. Bleach-blond Whisper (Nelida Lopez), for instance, learns the drug-dealing ropes from Ernesto and considers crossing gender lines to open her own operation. The slightly older Giggles (Marlo Marron), however, refuses to fall into old dependencies and habits after being imprisoned for four years for a crime her boyfriend committed. Sad Girl's sister, La Blue Eyes (Magali Alvarado), the only character to choose college over gang life, chances upon a poem written by a prison inmate and becomes hopelessly smitten, abandoning her books for a passionate jailhouse correspondence. The focus of Mi Vida Loca shifts freely between these and several other characters, many of whom take turns providing narration and context. The director's daughter, Tiffany Anders, has a small role in the film alongside many real-life Echo Park denizens; several musicians and film directors also make cameos, among them Spike Jonze, Kurt Voss, Kid Frost, and the members of Los Lobos. Salma Hayek got her SAG card by playing a tiny role.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
It would be easy to question the motives behind a white director's portrayal of Latina gang life if it weren't as respectful, humane, and impassive as Mi Vida Loca. We get no sensational violence or easy answers here; instead, writer/director Allison Anders adopts an almost documentarian approach that lets themes and narrative threads emerge organically while the characters -- and their lifestyles -- speak eloquently for themselves. Even-handed and only rarely resorting to boys-in-the-hood clichés, the film laces its dramatic scenarios with plenty of character-driven belly laughs. The feminist subtext may seem a bit heavy-handed in one or two instances, but for the most part the director sublimates rhetoric to character. Forgoing a traditional dramatic arc, Anders structures her film into three separate vignettes, each of which breaks down into even smaller narrative units as the voice-over shifts from one character to the next. This allows the director to replay the same events from different perspectives, resulting in a film that's rich in nuance. It's hard to define "principals" in a cast this huge, but the meatiest roles go to a mixture of newcomers and pros. Angel Aviles is sweet and tough as the quietly intense Sad Girl, while Seidy Lopez displays great comic timing as the testy Mousie; it's a shame that neither actress has more than a handful of feature credits to her name. Nelida Lopez, Magali Alvarado, and Marlo Marron also went MIA after their fine performances here, although the talented Jacob Vargas, who was also featured in Anders' Gas Food Lodging, has been working steadily since he was a kid. Mi Vida Loca has been criticized for putting Latina actresses into stereotypical "spitfire" parts, but it remains one of the only American movies so far to furnish a rich diversity of roles for that specific ethnicity and gender.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/14/2004
UPC:
0026359118821
Original Release:
1993
Rating:
R
Source:
Hbo Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:36:00
Sales rank:
5,093

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by director Allison Anders and producer Daniel Hassid

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Angel Aviles Sad Girl
Seidy Lopez Mousie
Jacob Vargas Ernesto
Jesse Borrego El Duran
Magali Alvarado La Blue Eyes
Julian Reyes Big Sleepy
Bertila Damas Rachel
Salma Hayek Gata
Panchito Gomez Joker Bird
Ricardo Salinas Efren
Gabriel Gonzalez Sleepy
Danny Trejo Frank
Noah Verduzco Chuco
Maurice Benard Creeper
Leigh Hamilton Social Worker
Carlos Rivas Sad Girl's Dad
Guy Boyd Priest
Sissy Boyd Tia Elena
Tiffany Anders Teenage Drug Customer
Jonathan Chapin Policeman
Kurt Voss Policeman
Marcus de Leon Policeman
Abbe Wool Warden
Nicole Holofcener Warden
Susan Bertram Trendy Girl
Marabina Jaimes Elva Rivero Player
Jason Lee Teenage Drug Customer
Christina Solis Baby Doll
Spike Jonze Teenage Drug Customer
David Hidalgo Los Lobo
Marlo Marron Giggles
Nelida Lopez Whisper

Technical Credits
Allison Anders Director,Screenwriter
Susan Bertram Costumes/Costume Designer
Colin Callender Executive Producer
Matthew J. Clark Asst. Director
Carl Colpaert Producer
William Ewart Co-producer
Rodrigo García Cinematographer
Tracy S. Granger Editor
Daniel Hassid Producer
Christoph Henkel Executive Producer
Kathryn Himoff Editor
John Taylor Score Composer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Life in the Echo [3:29]
2. Monay/maribel [8:42]
3. Ernesto [7:04]
4. A Little Confidence [12:30]
5. Answers [11:10]
6. Things Have Changed [7:23]
7. Step Up [14:53]
8. Unfinished Business [9:16]
9. Meeting Juan Temido [11:15]
10. For Love [10:03]

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