Not long into La Vida Loca I realized something. That my peculiar fascination for Central American gang culture has almost all but left me. Like probably many of you who've seen this film, I've also seen my share of S. American and C. American films concerning gang culture; the prison shows on TV, feature films, all of it. Seeing some guy or girl with tattoos covering their face is so beyond my scope of living that it has (had) this badass, semi-romantic feeling that I looked up to. Of course, I was aware of their daily wheelings and dealings but I kind of threw that off to the side so I could fantasize about how 'cool' they appeared and acted. I have to repeat, that mind-frame is now almost fully out the window - thanks to this movie. And I'm not so sure I'm happy about that.
La Vida Loca is just that, but more than anything else, it's La Vida Estupida. What we're shown here is a full-fledged look into C. American gang culture. The best and worst aspect to this film is how intimate it all is. This is a film with zero filters and zero self-consciousness, and what you see, is for more or less, how things go down. And what usually goes down is sadness, death, hypocrisy, chest-puffing.... The passion they show towards one another and their families is nothing but honest and real, but at the end of the day, it's seemingly all about selfishness. Gangs seem to not clash with opposing gangs than they do with their own self.
This is a documentary on gang-life, but it's not a truly informative piece of film-making; there's no questions asked, or answers given. The knowledge you're given with this film is more like common-sense; you should have known, but you just didn't. You're brought around and given really close peeks into these young lives, but most of the thoughts these guys and girls have are basically, for lack of a better word, bullsh!t. At wakes they regularly chant in unison about the evil of the world, and not hours later, you'll see them repeating the same stupid crap about revenge and that it's all about their gang. What frustrates me most is that there is a zest for life and change, but in their given situations, it seems that the gangs have found a certain level of comfort in the pain and violence.
If you're anything like me and that you have this interest in gang culture, be fore- warned that this film will mostly upset you. And hearing that the director himself was murdered by people in El Salvador...it makes me think if this film was even worth it.
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