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The ByTowne is now closed.

It's possible that, after the pandemic has been brought under control,
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Amores Perros

Best of the ByTowne!

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Exciting new filmmakers get our attention at the ByTowne -- this was the Ottawa début of Iñárritu!

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu barrels out of the gate of this Oscar-nominated work with a car chase that’s all sweat and smash cuts and ends in a crash of blood and bent metal. Then a nice trick happens. The crash ripples outward through the story, connecting strangers’ lives in a split second of violence.

Poster for the time tumbled drama Amores PerrosIñárritu moves backward and forward in time from the moment of the crash, spinning three tales that all depend on reckless passion, Mexican fate and cruel dogs.

Iñárritu, a first-timer, is working from a script by Guillermo Arriaga, but he co-edits the film, which is important. Structure rules this movie, and without Iñárritu’s dazzling confidence in his story’s architecture, the thing would collapse like bad Tarantino.

The first story is a kitchen-sink potboiler where a young man yearns for his brother’s wife. In the second, an injured model self-destructs. And in the third, a revolutionary-turned-assassin orchestrates his final gig. Those are the bare bones. But Amores Perros fleshes out its melodrama with lusty camera work, a counter-strain of macho melancholy and committed performances all around.

And dogs. A disclaimer fronts the film, insisting that animals were well treated. It’s needed, because dogs are central characters in this movie and most of them fight for money.

Amores Perros pulses with the life of Mexico City. It’s especially good at showing how nihilism and faith can coexist.

Cameron Bailey, NOW Toronto

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