Invasion of the Nacos! Mocking Social Prejudice in Contemporary Mexican Cinema

  • Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


Released in December 2008, Rudo y Cursi (Tough and Tacky) chronicles the travails of a pair of banana plantation workers, brothers Beto (Diego Luna) and Tato (Gael García Bernai) Verduzco, in a society unaccustomed to social mobility. From its very start, taking on an Argentine soccer talent scout—a caricature of a cliché-ridden social climber—as narrator, the film parodies the rigidity of Mexican society, reticent to accept the cultural production and habits of less privileged sectors as part of the mainstream. Together with other motion pictures—for example, Capulina’s El naco más naco (1982) and Julio Aldama’s El charro más naco del ejido (1998)—this film is representative of what I argue in this chapter: namely, that the term naco stands at the very heart of this shift in cultural preferences, signaling hope for Mexican society and suggesting an evolution in the configuration of national sensitivities. The added cultural visibility of naco protagonists in contemporary Mexican cinema addresses how humor can be used as a measure of resistance, as a tool of defiance against an entrenched social order, unwilling to change even in global times, and when social mobility—in the upward sense of the term—appears to be the best alternative for comprehensive incorporation into the world’s economic order.


Middle Class Social Mobility Drug Trade Mexican Migrant Cultural Code 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste

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