Olancho

70 minutes 2016

Manuel Chirinos, the central figure in this documentary, was a family-oriented farmer in the Olancho region of Eastern Honduras who made big money playing drug cartel parties with his band, Los Plebes de Olancho ("A plebe is a farmer who struggles to survive," he explains). But when his song lyrics offended the narcos, Chirinos was forced to flee to the U.S., where he resides in North Carolina as an undocumented immigrant. Though plodding at times, the movie benefits from its humble, sympathetic subject; Chirinos discusses his complicated feelings about his homeland and playing for the narcos as well as his heartbreak at being separated from his family and his band. Documentary makers Chris Valdes and Ted Griswold were granted remarkable access to the musicians in Olancho and clearly care for them and their families, but they only scratch the surface of the unrelenting and often misunderstood issue of cartel violence driving refugees into the United States. In Spanish with subtitles.

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