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MIFF review: Mateo

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Mateo” is set in the poor neighborhoods alongside the Magdalena River valley in Colombia, where the titular character, Mateo (Carlos Hernandez), has a part-time job collecting money for his crime boss uncle. Even though his mother doesn’t want to take the money his son earns as a loan shark, she has no choice as they are barely getting by living in a dangerous and violent neighborhood. On the verge of getting kicked out of high school because of bad grades, Mateo is forced to join a local theater group led by the local priest. After being aware of Mateo’s dilemma, his uncle uses him as a spy in order to uncover information about the priest. Resisting at first, Mateo starts to enjoy the company of the group until he forced by his uncle to make life-altering decision that would endanger his newfound friendship with the priest and the theater. Co-writing with Adriana Arjona, director Maria Gamboa uses a variety of themes like family and loyalty to illustrate that redemption is hard to garner especially if you commit crimes.

Plays at 9:45 p.m. tonight at Paragon Grove 13.

For ticket information, visit