International Writers Magazine:
Gonzalez Inarritu Screenwriter:
Love is a bitch. Some would agree. Others, maybe not.
watching Amores Perros (Dog Love, 2000), Alejandro
González Iñárritus awarding winning
film, one might choose to reconsider.
Following the lives
of many characters, some whose destinies collide with others, and many
others who are simply a sub-feature to the storyline of the film, Amores
Perros tells one story while it tells many, as in retrospect they
all share a linear psychoanalytical evolution and similar symbolic characteristics.
Visceral is the word. Fast, frustrating, loud, annihilating. Every scene
of this film is painful to watch; yet one cannot stop watching. The
dog love, a theme that indirectly the plot revolves around,
can be understood in various ways. Is dog love the love
of dog, as there is a dog with an important role in each one of the
intertwining plots? Or is it a reference made to the dog-fights shown
at various points throughout the film, where furious dogs instinctively
attack each other to death (an analogy of love itself)?
Dog seems to be a victim of mankind and all our obsessions, Octavios
(played by Gael Garcia Bernal) addiction to money and the plan of running
away with his sister-in-law, Valerias (played by Goya Toledo)
maternal drive for her dog, whose disappearance adds to her already
ripening depression and emotional instability, and the three or four
dogs who follow El Chivo (played by Emilio Echevarria) around in his
a sense, the dog has for Amores Perros what the chicken has
for the Brazilian film Cidade de Deus (City of God), an important
symbolic presence and a reference point for the films complicated
plotting, as the scenes come forward and backward to give an increased
The film starts
on a very fast note, there is a car chase, and the viewer sees Gael
Garcia Bernal driving frantically with a dying dog covered in blood
in his back seat. It ends, as most car chases in films do, in spectacular
fashion, as the lives of the three main characters cross and meet, influencing
and changing each ones destinies in very different ways. The photography
is very precise, and so is the soundtrack. Iñárritu uses
very upbeat, modern music, and this gives the viewer an even more vivid
performance. Some of the scenes are heartbreaking, and the performances
of Goya Toledo, Gael Garcia Bernal and Emilio Echevarria are very strong
Red and black reminds the viewer of blood and death, important key words
that will surround the characters. Death is always nearby, either in
the role of an aggressive brother, a violent part of town, a funeral
to which one was not invited, or a severe injury caused by a car accident.
The former, blood, is always waiting around the corner. Rats, dogs,
men, families, Iñárritu brings us blood and pain in the
very definitions of the words. Does he intend to portray us all as animals?
Or does he choose to show, by the ending scene, that the love of the
dog to its owner is the only love in the whole storyline that can be
praised for its veracity.
The film ends with a quote to leave a final forceful impression on the
viewer. It becomes obvious that director Iñárritu and
the screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga had a strong reason, or at last a
strong inspiration, for directing this film. This emotional drive is
evident when the last image fades out and the following sentence appears
on screen: "A luciano: porque también somos lo que hemos
perdido." This translates: to Luciano: because we are also
what we have lost. Whether indeed love is, or not, as beautifully
tragic as Iñárritu depicts, this is a choice one will
make when the credits start rolling. The film will stay with you for
© Gabriela Davies 20.12.2006
gabrieladavies@ at gmail.com
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