By Celestino Deleyto
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Additional info for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Amores perros arranges its simultaneous stories in mostly self-contained episodes and then narrates each one in sequence. A more convoluted story than it may seem at first sight and the repetition of certain events are not the only consequences of a 28 | Alejandro González Iñárritu storytelling choice that crucially affects the way spectators engage with the characters and the film’s portrayal of life in an urban space. One of the most immediate consequences of multiprotagonist storytelling patterns is frequently the way in which the spectators’ implication and engagement in the movie world is influenced by the absence of a central identification point.
El Chivo’s story is the most porous of the three, and it is more evenly distributed along the film’s whole temporal arc—seven inserts in Octavio’s episode and two in Valeria’s. His storyline includes both his life before the accident—his discovery of his wife’s death and his first incursions into his daughter’s life—and how his on-the-spot decision to adopt Octavio’s wounded dog will radically alter his life. The temporal structure of Amores perros is therefore more complex and irregular than it may seem at first sight.
The device, therefore, allows us to explore the workings of spectatorial engagement in film narratives while furthering the narrative through the activation of seemingly contradictory emotional responses. The young couple’s unexpected appearance in the middle of “somebody else’s” episode immediately recuperates the poignancy of Octavio’s feelings, the drama of Susana’s married life, and the uncertain future that awaits a group of unfortunate young characters whose existence is marked by their social milieu.