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'Narco Cultura' Explores Drug Cartels' Imprint On Pop Culture

posted 20 Nov 2013, 15:28 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 20 Nov 2013, 15:29 ]

Documentary film "Narco Cultura" juxtaposes violence with the corridos that reflect on Mexico's drug culture.

(CINEDIGM) -  "Narco Cultura" director Shaul Schwarz and singer-songwriter Edgar Quintero talked about how corridos are a way of reflecting on the ever increasing violence in Mexico as a result of drug cartels. Mexico had launched a military offensive to crush the cartels, but the violence spiraled instead, and more than 70,000 people have been killed in drug-related bloodletting since the start of 2007.

Corridos are popular Mexican songs that date from nearly a century ago and focus on popular figures, whether a revolutionary hero or well-known criminal, with social commentary.

"Sometimes we report on what's going on in Mexico, and not really just Mexico, but anywhere," said Quintero, who is featured in the documentary. "If I don't do it, somebody else will. It's just like, when a rapper writes a rap song, he wants to reflect on what he's seen or knows in the song, and that's what we as Hispanics do. We reflect on our music, which is regional Mexican music, it's just a way of life."

Jumping from Los Angeles to Cuidad Juarez in Mexico, the film follows drug traffickers and their place of prominence in pop culture, particularly among Latinos who see the outlaws as role models to gain wealth and fame.

"As I spent more time with him and the band I understood where this culture comes through, why the kids want to talk and why they look at these guys as kingpins," said Schwarz. "And it is to a degree, because our policy kind of lets the bad guys win and I think that's the other part this movie wants to go after. If you have so much impunity, if nothing happens, if we keep pretending and putting our heads in the sand, let's not get surprised if people are going to sing

about these people as heroes."

"Narco Cultura" is Schwarz's directorial debut. He has long worked as a photojournalist, his photographs appearing in such publications as National Geographicthe New York Times,Newsweek, El Pais Magazine and GQ.

The film will release in limited U.S. theaters on November 22.


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