The term ‘indie film’ is often used not in it’s correct form, as in not having been produced by a major film studio, kind of like with ‘indie music’, the term has become more of a genre rather than a way to describe the production of the album / movie. When you say indie I go to Happiness first, before The Usual Suspects even though both are categorized into independent film. This is a great category, mostly because independent cinema is often uncompromising, new, non-conformist and interesting. You don’t get the same corporate agenda as you would with most major film studio productions.
I can’t hail Amores Perros‘s praises enough. It completely won me over on the talent of Alejandro González Iñárritu, the graces of Gael García Bernal and introduced me to a world of Mexican and other central american cinema.
The story revolves around three different lifestories, entagled in a tragedy. Life, loss, love and dogs make Amores Perros a strong, influential film that shows the confusion and chaos in life to be a facade of the underlying structure, sensibility and life’s true meaning. The companionship that the haunted, broken down characters find in canines and their loyalty is real and heartfelt. The film plays with themes like loneliness, truth, righteousness, betrayal, despair without leaving you depressed but rather enlightened in yourself and your life and the choices you’ve made.
The lives of desperate youngster Octavio (Bernal), beautiful model Valeria (Goya Toledo) and El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría), a hitman and their respective dogs face their fates in a car accident that kills Octavio, cripples Valeria and leaves Octavio’s dog-fighting Rottweiler Cofi in the hands of El Chivo.
In it’s core Amores Perros is about love, all sides of it. The finding of love, the keeping of love, the loss of love. It has to get really dark before it’s light again. The beauty of the joys of life is contrasted with the both graphic and impactful violence depicted in the film. The fresh, yet frantic episodic structure of the film plays well with the story’s surrounding modern Mexico City. Here (not so much in Babel) the interlocking stories and the structure of the film play in perfect unisent without it ever reaching a feeling of forced trickyness or lack of storytelling. Often directing debuts turn out perfect both structurally and storywise (see Citizen Kane), and Amores Perros makes this a rule.
For me one the best things about film is it’s ability to provoke emotion and thought, and Amores Perros has left such a mark in me that after 10 years and about a dozen views, I still find new things in the film and in me whenever I watch it. If this hasn’t yet crossed your path, you need to do something about it now.
(The soundtrack to the film is completely brilliant btw, I don’t think there’s any other soundtrack that I’ve found to be as hauntingly beautiful and variant the Amores Perros OST. Gustavo Santaolalla did beautiful work as usual (he did that heartbreaking Brokeback Mountain tune too)).
10 / 10
You Will Like Amores Perros if…
- you thought Babel was at least ok.
- you dig cool, contemporary, eccentric music.
- you’re human.
P.S. Did you know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the highest grossing independent film ever made?