Amores Perros – Literary Elements

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.

1.0) What is the point of view of the movie?

2.0) What is the plot of the movie?

Amores Perros Thumbnail


3.0) Describe the following characters using the Fox Character Analysis Pyramid which includes name/title, physical appearance, personality, character’s role, character’s problems/challenges, major accomplishments, cultural context, and world view.

3.1) Emilio Echevarria as El Chivo, “The Goat”

1Emilio Echevarria as El Chivo

3.2) Gael Garcia Bernal as Octavio

2Gael Garcia Bernal as Octavio

3.3) Goya Toledo as Valeria

3Goya Toledo as Valeria


4.0) What are the themes of the movie?

5.0) What are the topics of the movie?

Adapted from Wikipedia:

5.1) Neo-Liberalism

The three overlapping stories all take place Mexico City, but because of neoliberalism, there is severe segregation of economic classes with El Chivo squatting on the outskirts of town, Octavio living in a working-class settlement/neighborhood, and Valeria living in a luxury high-rise apartment. If not for the car accident, these three characters would never interact. The upper-class is victimized in Amores Perros even when they are the ones perpetuating crime, for instance, El Chivo is hired to kill a man’s business partner and eventually decides to leave both men to fight it out themselves. Although Ramiro works at a grocery store, he also participates in the underground economy by committing robberies. Octavio and El Chivo participate in the underground Mexican economy as well, in order to secure untaxed income and bring stability to their lives.

5.2) Violence

Amores Perros contains domestic violence, gun violence, and animal cruelty.


5.3) Dogfighting

Dogfighting is banned in most Latin American countries and exists as an element of the underground economy that comes to exist in working class societies. Although violent, dogfighting provides an opportunity for Octavio to make money, this is true to life in the sense that participating in the underground economy gives people in the lower class the ability to make money and experience mobility. Inarritu was heavily criticized for his inclusion of dogfighting in the film but has said himself that although it is horrible, dogfighting is one of the harsh realities of Mexico City.

La ciudad y los perros

perro ladrador, nunca buen mordedor a barking dog never bites. (lit.: barking dog never a good biter)

perro ladrador, poco mordedor a barking dog never bites. (lit.: barking dog rarely bites)

perro no come perro there is honor among thieves (lit.: a dog does not eat a dog; n.b.: Colombian usage) . (lit.: a dog does not eat a dog; n.b.: Colombian usage)

perro que ladra en barbecho ladra sin provecho close the barn door after the cow has gone. (lit.: a dog that barks in a fallow field barks to no avail; n.b.: a Mexican proverb)

perro que ladra no muerde a barking dog never bites

6.0) What is the setting of the movie?  How important is the setting?

6.1) Mexico City


GDP per Capita USA, Thailand, Mexico Homocides USA, Thailand, Mexico


Mexico City’s Urban Sprawl

7.0) What is the genre of the movie?

7.1) Neorealism

Adapted from Wikipedia – Neorealism is characterized by a general atmosphere of authenticity. André Bazin, a French film theorist and critic, argued that neorealism portrays: truth, naturalness, authenticity, and is a cinema of duration. The necessary characteristics of neo-realism in film include:

7.1a) a definite social context;

7.1b) a sense of historical actuality and immediacy;

7.1c) political commitment to progressive social change;

7.1d) authentic on-location shooting as opposed to the artificial studio;

7.1e) a rejection of classical Hollywood acting styles; extensive use of non-professional actors as much as possible;

7.1f) a documentary style of cinematography.

7.1g) Don’t get “Neorealism in art” mixed up with “Neorealism in politics”!

8.0) Does the movie have any cultural lessons?

8.1) Italian neorealism had an influence on the cinema of several countries.

8.1a) French New Wave

8.1b) Nuevo Cine Español (NCE)

8.1c) Parallel Cinema (India)

8.1d) Polish Film School


8.2) Why do you think Italian neorealism had more influence in some countries than other countries?

8.3) Does the cinema of your country have any examples of Neorealism?  Why or why not?

9.0) What are the conflicts of the movie?

Worksheet at Scribd:

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