Narco Cultura Doc: Behind Mexico’s Brutal, Bloody Drug Ballads

September 5, 2013 | Marina Galperina

In Mexico, drug traffickers have theme songs.

With an AK 47 and a bazooka on my shoulder
Cross my path and I’ll chop your head off
We’re bloodthirsty, crazy, and we like to kill

In Narco Cultura, filmmaker Shaul Schwarz explores the culture born of “the war on drugs,” the extreme violence it fuels Mexico and the strange outlaw heroes it makes out of successful gangsters. The songs of the narcocorrido genre are commissioned by those gangsters and are exploding as a genre, immortalizing drugs, death and glory to cheerful accordion riffs. From an LA-based narcocorrido singer to a crime scene investigator in Juárez, one of the most dangerous cities on earth, the film helps to “illuminate this disturbingly glorified conflict.”

It’s the new gangster rap. Ski masks and trumpets. Tubas and machine guns. Money stacks and body bags. Gracefully shot and well reviewed, the film opens in November.