11/19/2013 05:50 pm ET

'Narco Cultura' Doc: Turning Drug Lords Into Stars

Sonia Recchia via Getty Images

Israeli photojournalist Shaul Schwartz digs deep and weaves a mesmerizing tale of cultural corruption and misplaced hero worship

We worry ourselves sick about whether rap lyrics and Tarantino movies will turn our kids into axe murderers or desensitized zom-bots. The answer is probably yes, no, maybe, depends.

But what if we flip the question on its head and ask how real-life violence worms its way into the pop canon in the first place?

“Narco Cultura,” a properly dispiriting, mesmerizing documentary by Israeli-born photographer Shaul Schwartz, examines the influence of one of the world’s most vicious criminal groups — the Mexican drug cartels — on a mushrooming Latino musical subculture in the United States.

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