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Entre Nos

Paola Mendoza (center) in "Entre Nos"

At the end of Entre Nos, screening at the Market Arcade on March 3 as part of the International Women’s Film Festival, titles tell us that the story we have just seen was based on incidents in the life of co-writer/director Paola Mendoza’s mother, and that the three characters in the movie have gone on to live successful and fulfilling lives. It’s worth knowing that before you watch the movie, which as it unfolds seems to be pulling you into a bottomless pit of misery.

Mendoza plays her mother (here named Mariana) as a young woman. She has just moved from Colombia to Queens New York with her two young children to be with their father, who has been on the move for years. In no time at all he abandons them, and Mariana is forced to care for the family herself in a strange city where she knows no one, has no income, and barely speaks the language.

I won’t go into the ills that await them, other than to say that they are sadly plausible. (One question: Could she find no help in Queens’ sizeable Colombian community?) So vividly are the perils of immigrants (presumably illegal) portrayed that it would have vastly improved the drama to devote the final third to showing how Mariana manages to pull them out of poverty.

Entre Nos will be shown with two short films: “Neighbors,” an animated film about the experiences of undocumented Vermont dairy farm workers, and “Lejos del Mar” (“Far From the Sea”), about a Mexican woman driven to madness by the loss of her daughter. —m. faust

Watch the trailer for Entre Nos

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