What a treat is was to watch Rita Moreno, Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (2021), directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, and now streaming on Netflix. With brilliant footage, the documentary includes interviews with Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Fernanda Luisa Gordon, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, and Karen Olivo.
Description: A look at the life and work of Rita Moreno from her humble beginnings in Puerto Rico to her success on Broadway and in Hollywood.
Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time. Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.
Mariem Pérez Riera (IMDb): Born in Puerto Rico, Mariem, at age nine, performed in the leading role of the movie “The Two Worlds of Angelita”. It was after that experience that she decided to become a film director. Her first documentary “Cuando lo pequeño se hace grande” about the Puerto Ricans who fought against the US Navy presence in the island of Vieques; was awarded Best Documentary at various international film festivals. She then debuted as film editor of the blockbuster film from rapper Daddy Yankee “Talento de Barrio”.
In 2005 she founded her own production company Maramara Films and in 2007 she co-directed with Carlos Ruiz and edited her first feature “Maldeamores” (executive produced by Benicio Del Toro) which won several international awards including Best Opera Prima, Audience Award, Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. She has also produced and directed in Puerto Rico other awarded documentaries such as “De Puerto Rico Para El Mundo”, “Diez En La Música”, and Emmy-winner “Croatto, La Huella De Un Emigrante.” Mariem’s latest biopic “Rita Moreno, Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It” premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and released in theaters on June 18, 2021 by Roadside Attractions distribution.
For more information, see https://www.ritamorenodoc.com/synopsis/