Amores Perros

(Love's a bitch)

Amores Perros
©Alta Vista Films, Zeta Films
distribution Nederlands Filmmuseum
photo courtesy International Film Festival Rotterdam

An episodic film revolving around the lives of people from different strata in Mexico City who treat each other as badly as some do their animals. From the moment we find ourselves soaring through traffic, accompanied by a severely bleeding passenger (dog) in the rear seat, we are propelled into a Tarantino-like world where we are yet to become acquainted with the characters. The lives of the three main people in this triptych are unexpectedly brought together by a fateful car accident.

Involved with dogfighting and backbiting, the poverty stricken fill their pockets by letting their beasts tear each other apart in order to make a few extra "dolores". Ottavio (Gaël García Bernal), an unemployed young man, accidentally discovers that his brother Ramiro's (Marco Pérez) Rotweiler is a sure winner at the dogfights and devises a plan to wager enough so that he can run away with his sister-in-law, Susana (Vanessa Bauche).

The attractive fashion model Valeria (Goya Toledo) lures her rich lover and publisher Daniel (Alvero Guerrero) away from his wife only to wind up in a state of depression when losing her lapdog under the floorboards. Matters get worse after the car accident when she winds up in a wheelchair.

The hitman named El Chivo (Emilio Echevarriá) masquerades as destitute on the streets while he cares for the stray dogs that others either treat badly or have abandoned. This ex-terrorist lives in the hope of finding his lost daughter who remains completely unaware of his existence.

Life seems cheap, brothers destroy brothers, and almost everyone is out for his own good.
Amores Perros
©Alta Vista Films, Zeta Films
distribution Nederlands Filmmuseum
photo courtesy International Film Festival Rotterdam
Debut film of young Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Amores Perros" has already won the film prize of the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes (2000) as well as prizes for Best Film/Best Director in Tokyo, the New Director's Award in Edinburgh, and a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars (2000). Assisted by scriptwriter Guillermo Arriaga Jordan, Iñárritu has managed to produce a powerfully raw piece of cinema about lives as lived in different quarters. The initial screenings pulled in more than a million and a half people in four weeks time. Many viewers were shocked by the viciousness of the dogfighting scenes, despite assurances from the director that no animals had been injured during filming. (One can only wonder how this could have been achieved, considering that real fighting dogs were used in these scenes.) The first tale, especially, pulls with a relentless and spellbinding impact that keeps the viewer trapped as if caught between the jaws of these nasty creatures.

An exciting soundtrack pounds with deliberately raw music (Mexican rap) and enhances other scenes in creating specific atmospheres by mixing street sounds and moods as the various situations demand. The hand-held camerawork of Rodrigo Prieto enhance and heighten the captivating spirit of the entire piece, especially with the powerful editing of Luis Carballar, Fernando Pérez Unda and Iñárritu himself. The first two tales remain the most riveting, whereas the last section and epilogue unfortunately lose some impact due to the two and a half-hour length of the whole. The faces of the characters throughout are attractive and seductive, all of which fascinatingly jars with the stories at hand. Controversial and exciting.

Have a look at the other IFFR reviews
Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch)
Images of a Moving City
Die Bad
Something Happened
Verboden te Zuchten
Rusty Water (Nok Mool)
City of Lost Souls
Letter from New York City
Me You Them (Eu Tu eLes)
The Circle (Dayareh)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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