Cinema Review: Narco Cultura | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, March 30th, 2020  

Narco Cultura

Studio: Cinedigm
Directed by Shaul Schwarz

Nov 21, 2013 Web Exclusive
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Just over one mile of road separates El Paso, Texas—ranked America’s safest large city, for three years running—from Juarez, Mexico, the bloody epicenter of the nation’s cartel violence. The numbers presented in Narco Cultura are nothing short of staggering: over 60,000 murders in Mexico since 2006 were related to the country’s competing drug cartels. Of those homicides, only 3% are investigated, and the ones which make it as far as court rarely lead to incarcerations. These horrifying figures are supported by gut-wrenching evidence: cameras linger on bullet-riddled bodies cooking under the city’s hot sun, and grieving widows and mothers as they speculate on the torture their loved ones endured before death. Terrible things are happening down there, and the citizens and authorities feel powerless to stop it.

Filmmaker and photojournalist Shaul Schwarz’s chilling documentary focuses not only on the region’s senseless bloodshed, but on the equally disturbing influence it’s had on popular culture. The cartels have given rise to entertainment which glorifies their violent, drug trade-enabled lifestyle: crews film b-grade gangster flicks based on real cartel figures, and young singers become stars recording “corridos”—short, narrative ballads which brag of criminals’ real-world exploits. The narco culture is popular on both sides of the border, as proven when cameras follow the singers to packed-house nightclub shows in the United States. Meanwhile, the film’s young law enforcement agent feels helpless as he’s called out to retrieve yet another body from the streets: “There’s an infinite number of cases. We simply do our job and don’t know why.” Narco Cultura is terrifying, and impossible to forget.

Author rating: 8/10

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November 22nd 2013

The two minutes trailer of “Narcocultura” is strong enough to the amazement. Narco culture, the “alterado” movement, and “narcocorridos” seem to have success in the biased idea that drug smugglers and sicarios are the good of the movie, Robin Hood -like, a brave crew that government doesn’t work. This idea is common between people that has no a relative murdered, kidnapped by drug cartels. These people feeling admiration for drug smugglers are called “buchones” (wannabes). But our terrible government and our infiltrated police departments have are the guilty thatmany Mexicans are happy and accustomed to the crime… until someone of your family is victim of the government or cartels.