Given the current recommendation to stay home and practice social distancing, we at the Chicago International Film Festival are looking at past selections from each year of the Festival that you can stream now from home. Stream our past selections as we look forward to the 56th Chicago International Film Festival this October 14-25, 2020. Find the full 56 Films for 56 Years selections here.
For today’s #56Films entry, we look back at Alejandro González Iñárritu’s audacious and accomplished feature debut, Amores Perros, starring Festival regular Gael García Bernal.
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
36th Chicago International Film Festival
Arriving at the dawn of the millennium, Amores perros (2000) remains one of the most audacious and accomplished debut features of our tumultuous century. Indeed, this intense triptych of three differently tragic plotlines, united by one bloody car crash in the heart of Mexico City, introduced an armada of new talents who have had prodigious impacts on 21st-century cinema: director and co-editor Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Birdman), cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Frida, The Irishman), screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain, The Motorcycle Diaries), and actor Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también, Bad Education). This sudden efflorescence was due in part to huge changes in Mexico’s film economy. After spending the 1990s on virtual life support, this previously state-controlled industry was desperate to nurture new artists in all crafts, who in turn might issue stylistic and political challenges to the cinema they’d inherited—hopefully reenergizing audiences at home and abroad. Opening channels for private investment, developing scripts without state oversight, and opening new theaters across the country paid off almost immediately, depicting Mexico in ways modern citizens recognized, debated, and paid to see repeatedly. Global viewers quickly followed suit. Amores perros in many ways marked the arrival of this seismic movement, but even without that context, the movie is a bracing experience. Relish again how the high velocity of the opening installment yields to the slow, steady vise of the second, before everything converges—story, rhythm, stakes, and social messaging—in the haunting third. — Nick Davis, Film Critic