To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco traffickers have become iconic outlaws and the new models of fame and success. They represent a pathway out of the ghetto ...
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Benjamin Garcia, Benny, is deported from the United States. Back home and against a bleak picture, Benny gets involved in the narco business, in which has for the first time in his life, an... See full summary »
To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco traffickers have become iconic outlaws and the new models of fame and success. They represent a pathway out of the ghetto - a new form of the American Dream, fueled by the war on drugs. NARCO CULTURA looks at this explosive phenomenon from within; cycles of addiction to money, drugs and violence that are rapidly gaining strength on both sides of the US/Mexican border. Written by
Every American should see this film, even though I think the 'values' it expresses are downright evil. People should see it just to be warned about this disease of violence and murder that is metastasizing on our southern border. As documentary cinema it's pretty good; it follows certain characters who have an intimate involvement of the drug culture and drug trade. There is no narration, just interviews with essentially two main players: one a Mexican CSI investigator, and the other a morally ambiguous songwriter who specializes in 'narcocorridos', songs about the Mexican drug trade and the carnage that goes with it.
Narcocorridos exploit sensational stories of murder and violence, naming real events, real drug lords and real victims, and generally casting them in a heroic aura which is far better than these criminal scumbags deserve. Corridos, songs which tell stories, are a venerable tradition in Mexican folk music. Traditionally they have a sweet, lyrical quality, telling tales of Pancho Villa or the revenge of jilted lovers and the exploits of famous bandits. Of late the corrido has taken a darker turn, celebrating the nihilistic deeds and deaths of narcotraficantes and in general glorifying and promoting the culture of trafficking and murder. For this reason narcocorridos have been banned in Mexico as an incitement to violence. And, unavoidably, since the songs often name players, dates and locations the bands themselves become partisans in the drug wars and have become too often the victims of the mayhem they celebrate. The songwriter interviewed in this documentary lives in California and makes his money off the public's fascination with the horrors of the drug trade. His band features, along with the traditional instruments like tuba and accordion, a bazooka, which is shown but not, we must hope, played on stage. Gone are the bittersweet sounds of Los Alegres de Teran or even Los Cadetes de Linares and instead we have musicians with attitude. They seem to be really good musicians but their music is drowned out by the attitude.
On the other hand, we also follow a young policeman whose job is to collect forensic evidence from crime scenes after the shootouts between rival gangs. This often involves severed body parts strewn conspicuously about the neighborhood as a message to the other guys. It's an awful, thankless, job because few of the murders are solved and the corruption of the Mexican authorities is epic. He is careful, dedicated and in danger. Policemen in the northern states are killed on a regular basis. This fellow represents the best of Mexican manhood, unlike the locos you see posing with their pistols and their AKs. You get to see what he's up against. He is the real hero, but is anybody going to write a corrido about him?
The problem with the drug culture is that is isn't actually a culture, with its traditional values. It is instead the absence of values, the absence of culture, a black hole that threatens to swallow light itself. Santa Muerte is not a real saint. She is the anti-saint. Near the end we see an entire cemetery where the rich drug dealers go when they die (seldom of natural causes). Each mausoleum is like a big ornate church with domes and cupolas and there looks to be a whole city of them. And the windows are glazed with bulletproof glass. The drug culture becomes a parody of itself.
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