Despite recently struggling to re-watch Babel and barely coping with Biutiful, I chose to watch Amores Perros. The connection here is that it was also directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and it is also a totally sadtacular film. Wikipedia lists Amores Perros as being the first in a loosely connected trilogy which also includes 21 Grams and Babel. There do not appear to be character overlaps between the Amores Perros (which translates as ‘Love’s a Bitch’) and Babel, but it is more the type of story being told.
Amores Perros follows three key stories, at times overlapping and at other times, closely focused on one of the three. The key event is a car accident. There is Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal) who is in love with his brother’s wife, Susana (Vanessa Bauche). He is desperate to take her away, and begins pitting his dog against others in dog fights to raise the money. When fleeing from some quite nasty men, Octavio’s car crashes into the car of model Valeria (Goya Toledo), causing a lot of damage to her leg. Valeria had just moved into an apartment with Daniel (Alvaro Guerrero) who has left his wife for her. Finally, there is El Chivo (Emilio Echevarria), a man living on the streets who, many years previously, abandoned his wife and child to join the guerilla movements. However, he ended up in jail, and upon being released, has become homeless surrounded by a family of dogs. Spotting his daughter, he attempts to find a way to contact her.
Some of the motifs and themes are a little heavy-handed, but despite the graphic dog fighting scenes, I quite enjoyed this film. It’s dark, but somehow carries some sense of hope. Certainly, I am now keen on seeing 21 Grams. Might wait a few months, though. Perhaps watching some rom coms or action stuff in the meantime, cleanse my palette.
Amores Perros was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.