Marisol Fuentes (Emma Ramos) is a young mother, an undocumented immigrant seeking a better life for daughter Maria (Rachel Lizette) while trying to stay far enough under the radar that she doesn't attract unwanted attention. Needing to make some extra cash quickly, she talks her friend Luisa (Katty Velasquez) into letting her borrow her car for a day so she can work for the fictional ride-sharing Quikk for the day. After much resistance, Luisa finally relents and Marisol's day goes incredibly well until she decides to pick up one last fare for the day, the seemingly friendly and trendy Frederick (Tim Eliot).
Frederick's initial congeniality quickly becomes more invasive and suddenly Marisol's transgression turns into what may very well be her worst nightmare.
Directed by Zoe Salicrup-Junco based upon a script by Tim Eliot, Marisol is a timely, incredibly engaging film that had its world premiere just this last month at the San Diego Latino Film Festival and it continues on what should easily be a rewarding and successful indie film festival circuit.
Emma Ramos is mesmerizing as Marisol, tenderly yet heartbreakingly portraying a way of life that many of us couldn't possibly imagine yet also doing so by embodying Marisol's richness of humanity and always having to balance both her warm, maternal spirit and the constant guardedness of a young woman whose every action could potentially have lasting impact. It's an unforgettable performance that leaves you wondering about Marisol long after the closing credits have rolled.
If you didn't know that Eliot penned this wonderful script, you could be excused for his creepster aura is perhaps a little too real. Eliot's performance here as Frederick is marvelous, wisely avoiding histrionics in favor of a matter-of-factness that serves the character and the situation incredibly well and makes the overall impact of the film even stronger.
Among the key supporting players, Rachel Lizette gives an endearing performance as Maria, at once both a young girl who wants to be a normal young girl and also someone who is so incredibly precious you instantly accept why Marisol would risk everything for her.
Katty Velasquez gives a strong performance as Luisa, while Teren Carter and Qurrat Ann Kadwani both shine as two police officers involved in Marisol's unfolding situation.
Marisol is an absolutely beautiful 15-minute short film, a film that captures the intimacy of the stories that we too quickly label as "undocumented immigrants" rather than recognizing their humanity. Yet, Marisol also powerfully portrays how askew things can go when authority is provided to people who haven't truly earned it and use it to further their own agendas. There's also, as well, light shed on the delicate balance between local and national authorities and how quickly they can come into conflict.
Agatha Kaspar's original music serves as a perfect accompaniment to the film, while Tine DiLucia's lensing balances warm humanity with breathtaking tension.
For more information on Marisol, visit the production company's website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic