2011 Photo Contest, Arts and Entertainment, 3rd prize

Narco Cinema


Fabio Cuttica

06 November, 2010

Actor Fabian Lopez on set in Tijuana, playing the lead in the film El Baleado 2.

About the photographer

Fabio Cuttica

Born in Rome in 1973, Fabio Cuttica spent his childhood in Colombia and Peru, returning to Italy as a teenager. In 2001, having completed studies in photography at the European I...

Background story

Tijuana, Mexico
Actor Fabian Lopez on set in Tijuana, playing the lead in the film El Baleado 2. A cloud of cocaine rises behind him in his office. Tijuana is a focal point of real-life drug wars raging in Mexico. The wars have inspired ‘narco cinema’, a B-movie genre dating back to the 1980s that has become increasingly violent in recent years. Formulaic and action-packed, the films have been accused of glamorizing the drug lords’ way of life, but reflect a world much of the audience recognizes. Narco cinema is enormously popular both in Mexico and with Mexicans living in the USA. Over 30 such narco movies are shot each year in Tijuana alone, and many actors achieve star status.

Photo credit:

Fabio Cuttica speaks about the project:
"In November 2010, I begun to document the cinema production in Tijuana, Mexico. I focused my work on the production of movies that offer a representation of narco trafficking. In the last years, with the increase of violence due to conflicts among drug cartels, a cultural market (music, literature, movies) has developed that seeks to describe and tell some aspects of this conflict.

The winning picture, which is one of a series about narco cinema, was shot during the filming of the movie El Baleado 2. It was one of the last scenes, before the main character, actor Fabian Lopez in the role of Saul 'El Baleado' was shot to death. I worked on the set of El Baleado 2 film during a week. In the scene, 'El Baleado' leaves his office, shooting at the enemies that want revenge. In the background, a cloud of cocaine fills up the room. His face, drug crazed, is also cover by cocaine-like powder. That day was the last day of filming. It was a 20-hour, non-stop journey, at a set inside a house in Tijuana. It was a very tiring day, but really lucky, I will not forget it!"

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/200 s
Focal length
39 mm

This image is collected in