Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Amores Perros [Mexico, 2000]

Nine Things about the Movie Amores Perros [aka Love’s a Bitch]

1. This movie is the first of director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Death Trilogy”. Don’t take the word “death” literally here - there are different kinds of death. 

2. It consists of three separate stories in Mexico City that intersect in one random, life-changing moment. 

3. The first story is set around the dogfighting culture. A young man is obsessed with his sister-in-law, and attempts to win her away from his brother who is an abusive, small-time criminal (this story was Gael Garcia Bernal’s first film role, who is one of the best actors to come from Latin America in a long time).

4. The second story is about a supermodel and her secret boyfriend, who is cheating on his wife. When things go bad for the supermodel’s career, and her dog gets trapped under the floorboards of the apartment, the stress on the couple reaches a breaking point.

5. The third story is about a homeless man who collects stray dogs, follows people around the city, and sometimes shoots them. When he collides with people in the other two stories, he begins to question what he’s doing.

6. The script is engaging and well-constructed; the choices a character makes in one of the stories cause consequences in the other stories. But none of the characters ever actually meet each other. It’s like a chain of dominoes that you didn’t even know was set up.

7. Dogs play a significant symbolic role in each of the stories, and serve as metaphors for the deeper themes of love, loyalty, freedom, exploitation, and violence.

8.There are a lot of graphic depictions of dogfighting and other cruelty to animals. Iñárritu was heavily criticized for this, but he wanted to give an honest depiction of the underground economy in Mexico City, which includes dogfighting.

9. “Amores Perros” is an examination of different forms of love, and different ways that love can cause chaos in life. It’s a smart, original drama that makes you care about the characters. And in the end, it makes you reflect on your choices, and how those choices may impact people you’ve never even met.