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The way the film balances expose, visual poetry, and lucid analysis of two economies and two bureaucracies in two countries is to be studied. Director-cinematographer Saul Schwarz [a photojournalist making his cinematic debut] doesn't let any one element overwhelm the symphony or obscure his clearly despairing perspective . . . Schwarz's hand is light and gracefully articulated even in moments that go right for the gut.
As I noted in my wrap-up of this year's Chicago International Film Festival, the ongoing crises in Mexican society have inspired a wave of vital, socially engaged filmmaking. It sounds like Narco Cultura continues this trend. If you want to see it on a big screen, though, chances are you'll have to act fast. Under-the-radar releases like these seldom play for more than a week.