From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Amores perros is a Mexican film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu in 2000. It is an anthology film, containing three distinct stories which are connected by a car accident in Mexico City. Each of the three tales is also a reflection on the cruelty of humans towards each other, showing how they end up living darker and more hideous lives than the dogs around them. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001.
The film was released under its Spanish title in the English-speaking world, although it was sometimes translated as Love's a Bitch in marketing. In a 2001 interview on National Public Radio, Iñárritu pointed out that Love's a Bitch is an American English idiom, and is not a satisfactory translation of the title.
The film is constructed from three distinct stories linked by a car accident that brings the characters briefly together.
"Octavio and Susana" stars Gael García Bernal and Vanessa Bauche as the title characters. Susana is Octavio's brother's wife. However Octavio is in love with Susana, and doesn't like how his brother treats her. Susana also has a story with him and so he tries to convince her to run away with him. Needing to make money so he and Susana can escape and start a life of their own, Octavio becomes involved in the business of dog-fighting. That is, until his dog Cofi (Coffee) is shot during a fight by the rival owner whom Octavio then stabs. While being fired at by his pursuers, Octavio finds himself in a car chase along with his lifelong friend, and the wounded dog. In the crash his best friend dies, while he is badly injured.
"Daniel and Valeria" stars Álvaro Guerrero and Goya Toledo. Daniel is a successful magazine publisher who leaves his family to live with the supermodel Valeria. Unfortunately, Valeria is badly injured in the accident involving Octavio's car and therefore can no longer work as a model. Valeria's dog disappears under the floorboards in her and Daniel's apartment one day and stays there for days. This becomes a growing source of tension for the couple, causing numerous fights which leads to doubts about their relationship on both sides. Valeria reinjures her leg trying to help the dog which causes it to grow infected. This forces the doctors to amputate, removing any chance she may have had at modeling. Once her leg is gone she realizes that her life is more than likely ruined since her sense of purpose, modeling, has been taken away from her.
"El Chivo and Maru" stars Emilio Echevarría and Lourdes Echevarría. It concerns an ex-private school teacher who becomes involved in guerrilla movements that leads him to be in jail for 20 years being then a man who lives mainly on the streets, looking after a large collection of mongrel dogs that follow him, but earning his money as a hitman. Hired by a man to kill his business partner he learns that the intended victim is his client's half-brother. He is in the area about to kill his client's brother when the car crash interrupts them. El Chivo manages to save Octavio's wounded dog and takes it home to nurture it. Sadly, while Chivo is away, the rescued dog who he has been caring for goes on to kill all of the other dogs in the house. Throughout his story, El Chivo tries to make contact with his daughter, Maru, who believes he is dead. El Chivo captures both his client and his client's brother, and leaves them chained to the wall with a gun between them, their fate left undetermined. He then visits his daughter's empty house, leaves a stack of money saved from his jobs for her and disappears again.
The movie begins with, and revolves around, the car crash which is the common event in all three stories. Octavio runs a light during the chase, hitting the car Valeria is driving. El Chivo is the first on the scene, the accident stopping him from his latest assignment. This accident changes all three of the main characters' lives.
More importantly, the movie tries to portray its characters as unable to see beyond their immediate instincts and create decent lives for themselves, but rather bound by their sexual and violent instincts into harming each other.