Amores Perros (2000)—Mexican
In this his debut film, director Alejandro González Iñárritu crafts a complex story in a manner that he also uses in his two subsequent films, 21 Grams (2003) and Babel (2007). All three films are long, tell three separate stories that collide, unfold in a non-linear and no-chronological manner, and explore the darkest aspects of human nature. The international English title for Amores Perros is "Love's a Bitch," which is unfortunate in my opinion because this rather jocular curse obscures the tragedy that stalks every character in this film. The figurative expression also misses the central role of dogs, dog-fighting, and how and why dogs come off as better than humans in Iñárritu's narrative. Octavio loves his sister-in-law Susanna, hates his brother, and immerses himself in the seedy world of dog-fighting. Daniel leaves his wife Julieta for the super-model Valeria, but tragedy and surreal superficiality leave them both with only ruin and regret. El Chivo is a homeless wino who appears like a ghost as a background figure throughout the film, until we learn his story of broken family relationships that center around his daughter Maru. Tragic fate and bad choices bring these stories together. One way to view this film is through the closing caption provided by Iñárritu himself: "We are what we have lost." In Spanish with English subtitles. 153 minutes.