Narco Cultura Screen 7 articles

Narco Cultura

2013

Narco Cultura Poster
  • By juxtaposing Soto with Quintero, who tours throughout the U.S., making money and becoming famous by aggrandizing the violence that has destroyed so many cities, the film initially creates a dichotomy between exploitative Americans and suffering Mexicans that only tells part of the story. Fortunately, Schwarz goes on to blur those lines and challenge easy assumptions.

  • The concept of juxtaposing both of these aspects sounds too clever on paper, yet Schwarz, a former war photographer, deftly balances the elements; he shows exactly how the gangsta-rap-meets–Stagger Lee music is contributing to a real social crisis without boiling things down to a brain-dead reductive headline. You wonder how folks at that Buknas show... would react if they saw this film and realized what they were supporting. You hope they’d at least stop singing along.

  • All of it is captured by Schwarz—an award-winning magazine photographer and Israeli air force vet—with a sharp eye for composition and a fearlessness about where he places himself and his camera.

  • It’d be disingenuous for a film about the Mexican Drug War to conclude with a tidy, uplifting resolution. The war is still going on; it’s an ouroboros of death. As such, there’s no resolution to this immensely powerful movie—just the sense of witnessing a crime still in the act of being committed.

  • If it weren’t for The Act Of Killing, Narco Cultura would be the year’s queasiest documentary. The film—which counterposes Quintero’s day-to-day life with that of Richi Soto, a crime-scene investigator in Juarez—is both an unflinching record of Mexico’s drug war and an investigation of how violence becomes unreal and glamorized.

  • The way the film balances expose, visual poetry and lucid analysis of two economies (the drug trade, the music business) and two bureaucracies (law enforcement, media) in two countries (Mexico, the U.S.) is to be studied. Director-cinematographer Saul Schwarz doesn't let any one element overwhelm the symphony or obscure his clearly despairing perspective.

  • Schwarz lets the people and his images speak for themselves. “Narco Cultura” is beautiful to look at—at once aestheticized and raw. The morgue shots and scenes of hysterical bereavement are pretty unflinching, the intimations of Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño’s posthumous novel “2666”, with its Santa Teresa (e.g. Juárez) of murdered women, are unavoidable, and, of course, the infectious music never lets up.

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