To see Vice at their best, you’ve got to see the coverage of Mexico they’ve been doing. There’s a slew of short documentaries they’ve done that shine a light on the very different faces of contemporary Mexico. I’ve rounded them up here and it’s enough to keep you busy for a whole day. Vice can be polarizing, offensive, or amateurish sometimes, and I’m not a fan of everything they do, but when they’re on point, it proves that taking risks with your content can really pay off.
The Mexican Mormon War
The Mormons of Northern Mexico, including relatives of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, provide an odd but intriguing hook for looking at the crisis of cartel violence on the U.S. / Mexico border.
Mexico’s Female Crime Journalists
The journalists in Ciudad Juarez are risking their lives daily just to practice their profession. Especially considering the terrifying violence directed against women here, the persistence of bold female journalists in Juarez is inspiring.
The Warrior State
This documentary gives a brief introduction to a complicated topic in Mexico. Community policing has a long tradition there, but there are fears of local paramilitaries being co-opted by the cartels they are meant to resist. Vice’s coverage is understandably sympathetic, and it does seem like armed local resistance may be part of the solution to Mexico’s current problems.
Oaxaca’s Third Gender
The Muxe tradition in the Isthmus region of Oaxaca is an incredible example of a very old tradition of gender fluidity. Muxes are Zapotec transgender women who have a unique and accepted, even celebrated place in the society. Though there are some complications in the lives of the contemporary Muxe, which this documentary introduces.
The Cumbiaton Super Stars of Mexico City
A glimpse into the thriving electronic music youth culture in el D.F., fueled by the Internet and emerging from some of the city’s most notorious neighborhoods. “Cumbiaton” is a new style fusing cumbia, reggaeton, and other influences.
Mexican Pointy Boots
This mini-doc zeroes in on another musical subculture in Mexico, this one based on Tribal techno. Despite having one of the biggest cities in the world, if not the biggest, Mexico still has a huge rural population and the iconography of the frontera is never distant. The dancing techno cowboys with psychedelic boots are something only Mexico could give birth to.