Amores Perros (2000): A modern Mexican classic

For this weeks International Film, Candice Zhao reviews Amores Perros.

Candice Zhao
15th October 2019
Image: IMDB

Amores perros is a 2000 Mexican crime drama film directed by Mexican film director Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Mexican author Guillermo Arriaga. Amores perros was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2000 and won the Ariel Award for Best Picture from the Academy of Film.

I really like this film because of the unique structure, amazing soundtrack and poignant meaning. The film is a “trilogy of death” which consists of three distinct stories connected by a car accident in Mexico city. As in most multi-protagonist films, this intersection is a matter of pure chance and alters the lives of the characters in unpredictable ways. The traffic accent is also the only moment in the film in which the three stories coincide in the same space and time.

"In this film contrasting and contradictory elements exist side by side."

The stories focus on a slum teenager who gets involved in dogfighting; a model who seriously injures her leg; and a mysterious hitman who takes care of many dogs. These stories are linked in various ways, especially the presence of dogs in each of them. This film contains the themes of dog issues (dogfighting), disloyalty, inequality, violence and complexity of human nature.

Amores perros is like a big pozole (a traditional Mexican soup or stew). Just as a pozole has all kinds of ingredients—some healthy and some not so healthy—in this film contrasting and contradictory elements exist side by side. For example, my first impression of the killer in the third story is a sinister person, but as the film progresses I realize he’s actually very humane. He may be a killer, but he’s not immune to love, which finally redeems him. It tells stories that deal with human pain, love and death - which make no distinction of social class. In the end the film, there's a feeling of uncertainty that turns these endings into doors opening to an unfathomable future.

Whether because of God’s will or because of random chance, characters’ plan and desires are continually thwarted, altered, or altogether curtailed when they, accidentally or not, clash with the plans and desires of others in the streets of Mexico City. Also death in this movie is literally around every corner. Each change of scene can lead us back to the moment of the accident from a different perspective, but always with a similar result: no explanations are offered, there are no logical causes, and there is nobody to blame.

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