'Al Otro Lado'
A competent, earnest ethnographic video doc that never quite rises above its own best intentions, Natalia Almada's Al Otro Lado ( To the Other Side) grabs hold of an ironic New Globalism dynamic: Mexican narcocorrido musicians crooning about the rebellious heroism of drug smugglers. In Sinaloa, where fishing can no longer pay a living wage and the only alternative to heading north and washing dishes is to grow and sell coca, everyone Almada finds is utterly blasé about the ubiquity of dope and those who get rich from it. A corrido newbie named Magdiel debates his very limited options, and Almada recounts the recent history of the polka-powered song style as it mutated from a folk ballad form valorizing Mexican Revolution war heroes and, later, civil rights leaders, to celebrating the anti-establishment role of los narcotraficantes. A thumbnail window on the world, the movie puts a taste of this culture on the tongue but leaves it at that.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...