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This paper seeks to present a comparison between the films Amores Perros and Biutiful. The paper will discuss how Inarritu sees the world around him, whether it be California, Morocco or the underworld of the Mexico City and Barcelona. The links between locations, characters, and the world’s they inhabit, and the importance of connections and the way, in which they serve the plot, as well as show how Inarritu’s films are significant and relevant to American and international audiences in 2012.
Uxbal is the main character of the film. He is surrounded by other protagonists, who have made the story a success (Honeycutt, 2010). Uxbal is a father to a son and a daughter named Ana and Mateo. As a caring father, Uxbal struggles to provide the basic needs to his children for the survival in the modern world, especially after being separated from her wife Marambra (Sharkey, 2010).
Uxbal is diagnosed with fatal prostate cancer. Therefore, this meant that he had at most a few months to continue living. The thought of leaving his children with no responsible parent worried him as his wife and the mother of his children, Marambra, was irresponsible and bipolar. This made him feel uncomfortable turning his children to their mother. On the other hand, his brother Tito was selfish and irresponsible to raise the kids (Sharkey, 2010). The role and function of this character is acting as a go-between a number of sources. Uxbal is a Chinese man importing Chinese laborers illegally to work at construction sites or manufacture knock-off handbags, as well as DVDs or CDs, that are sold by illegal African immigrants on the sidewalks of the posher areas of the town (Honeycutt, 2010).
Moreover, Uxbal is also responsible for paying off the police to overlook the Africans, as they illegally sold wares on the street. Additionally, he convinced the Africans that they were to illegally carry out their business in certain districts, and they continued taunting fate and selling downtown. He further acts as a go-between for the dead by acting as an intermediary between them and their families despite the fact that some families at times were unwilling to listen to him. When one of his friends, Ekweme, was deported to Senegal, Uxbal took his responsibility to provide home and money to Ekweme’s wife, Ige, and their son after they had been evicted from their homes. Uxbal is also an intermediary between his children and ex-wife. He tries to reconcile them. Besides, he tries to soften his wife’s insanity as well as addictions when his children question about her disappearance at the burst of the reconciliation. His roles take a toll on him, particularly because he is just a simple man seeking to do the right thing following a wrong path. Despite the fact that his job is illegal, it exists in reality. However, he tries to be good. For instance, he buys heaters for laborers to warm a basement at night (Sharkey, 2010).
Apparently, nothing goes right for Uxbal. For instance, the heaters he buys for the basement are faulty and they suffocate laborers in the basement. His rapprochement becomes terrible ending up in their separation, and he moves back to his apartment, which currently has been inhabited by Ige. However, Uxbal struggles with his inspiration, coming from his desire to save some money for the upkeep of his children after his demise. His illness becomes critical and he is reduced to use adult diapers, as he cannot control urinating himself (Sharkey, 2010). Inarritu compares Uxbal’s lack of control over the functions of his body with the consistent lack of control over the events in his life.
The most interesting part of the story is how the city of Barcelona has been portrayed. This is not the Barcelona from photo essays and tourism, but seedy side streets with dingy flats, as well as warehouses, enclosed small spaces, where persons carve for themselves a niche. The immigrants from China experience suffering in their attempt to acquire a foothold within a new society. They are largely exploited by the Chinese, who have brought them to Spain (Sharkey, 2010). Laborers are badly treated. To begin with, they are confined in a basement, where they spend their night. The basement is locked for them not to escape. They are awoken at 6.30 am to begin work in the construction or sweatshop upstairs without knowing what they are doing.
Additionally, Inarritu conveys the city of Barcelona as a densely populated lonely city. This makes it appear far from the widely known perfect tourism destination. Moreover, it seems to perceive its lost souls and ghosts flocking in the sky above the city to birds. Similarly, the same images recur in 21 Grams, a 2003 movie.
The movie is a combination of three interlinked stories. The title Amores Perros is translated as “Love’s a Bitch”. Apparently, the name has two meanings in that each of the stories deals with dogs and love. Protagonists in the stories share a compulsive attachment to their dogs. Additionally, they also desperately seek to be in a human relationship, but they are left in despair, for they do not succeed (Shaw, 2003).
The film starts with a bleeding dog at the backseat of a car speeding through the streets of the city (Wood, 2007). The car driver and his passenger are screaming at one another frantically. The driver of the car is Octavio, a young man belonging to the working class and living with his family- mother, sister-in-law and brother - in a poor sector of the city. In the initial scene, Octavio is headed for a horrific auto accident. This is a scenario that ties the protagonists in three sections of the movie together.
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Octavio tries to get into a relationship with Susana. Susana is the wife of Octavio’s brother Ramiro, who is shiftless and abusive. In his attempt to acquire money to escape with Susana, Octavio gets his dog linked to illegal dog fighting competitions (Wood, 2007). As a result, he gets into gory confrontations with the local thugs, which end in tragedy.
“Daniel y Valeria” is the second story, which is a somewhat wretched romance of Goya Toledoa fashion model and Alvaro Guerrero, an upper middle class magazine publisher (Wood, 2007). Daniel leaves his wife and children for Valeria. They rent an apartment, which is quite expensive. However, before they could settle in it, Valeria was terribly injured in the auto accident at the beginning of the film. The sweet relationship almost immediately turns sour. The modeling career of Valeria comes to an end. In addition, her pampered and adored Lhasa also gets stuck in the basement of the apartment. She also turns violent against her new lover (Wood, 2007).
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The third movie is called “El Chivo y Maru.” El Chivo was previously a college professor, who had abandoned his family a couple of years ago wanting to be a left-wing guerrilla. Terrorism resulted into a prison sentence leaving him without home. He is now living in a secluded apartment with some unkempt dogs, which he has adopted and dotes upon (Strauss, 2006). He survives by undertaking on behalf of a previous jailer contract killings. Maru is El chivo’s separated daughter. He had abandoned his daughter, when she was a child, and he is desperately seeking to contact and establish a relationship with her.
The aim of Inarritu was to highlight great contradictions of the city of Mexico, which is the largest of American cities. In a limited way, the two leading stories convey polarization that has tremendously grown over the past few years, following the International Monetary Fund imposed austerity and the Free Trade Agreement of North America and other significant aspects of economic globalization under transnational corporations and giant banks.
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The initial section has some potential. Garcia captures the audience in his depiction as a character at the center of the story. However, the story slowly develops. Actually so little is learnt about the lives of the protagonists, except for their involvement in dogs and illegal dog fighting (Wood, 2007). The gruesome and overheated scene, from which the film begins, sets a stage for other stories, which are infused with gory violence that leads to a horrible content. Evidently, it seems that the narrative is established around the desire to shock and capture the attention of viewers. From the narration, it is apparent that much violence is gratuitous. This means that it hardly arises from the logic of events, but is externally imposed.
Innaritu is trying to say something about the lives of the second couple, which are completely empty. In addition, at this point, the story is silted and lifeless. Moreover, characters are not fully developed. Daniel is an abstraction. The heated arguments and shouting amid the couple at the middle class take place with no serious explanation or context. Therefore, it is evident that the plot is an ineffective soap opera, which is not illuminating, believable or interesting.
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Are the Films AmoresPerros and Biutiful Significant and Relevant to American and International Audiences in 2012?
In my opinion, the two films are significant for both American and international audiences. This is due to the fact that people are quite phobic. People do not give themselves an opportunity to think about things that are absolutely going to happen, no matter what. This is because a majority of people have no idea, what to start with. However, this does not imply that everyone is like that. This is a large and sophisticated world, where people feel uncomfortable thinking about such things (Julian, 2008). It is apparent that everyone knows that he or she will at one time die, but hardly believes in that. According to Inarritu, it is not all about death in the Biutiful movie. He tries to observe life from the point of view of the death in order to denote that life has more meaning in it. Inarritu say that it is fulfilling to him knowing that life is finite (Wood, 2007). It is one thing knowing that you would like to attend a party, when holidays come. However, if you think that holidays will last, there is a possibility you will take it for granted. This is quite different with when you know that, for instance, you only have three days to enjoy being at the beach, since you will ensure you spend your time here happily. This is what Inarritu seeks to invite. He believes it is not about death, but observing life from a different perspective. The significance of this is that it will continue to teach the audience that every situation should be taken for granted despite mishaps. Therefore, this means that the film remains relevant to the current generation.
The film AmoresPerros (2000) communicates to a universal audience, though it does not simplify its domestic culture (Arriaga, 2001). The film opens up the culture and relates it to soap operas on television, and current debates based on its relevance to Mexicans and pop music. It is quite difficult to overlook the relevance of AmoresPerros to the film industry of Latin America. The film demonstrates glossy and fast cinematography as high-level Hollywood products (Arriaga, 2001). Additionally, it radiated a trail of a serious commercial achievement as far as Latin America is concerned (Strauss, 2006).
Nonetheless, for the film is a national one, it is difficult to realize that one is in the Mexico City rather than another city, for instance New York or Los Angeles, as the film gives no sense to denote this. Therefore, this means that the three stories making up the film could happen anywhere in the Universe. They represents a young man seeking to make something good out of his life with a little money and love for his life; a middle-aged professional finds his dream in a new life with a younger woman, but later turns sour; the cynicism and disillusionment of a lad, who has previously had the dream of changing the world.
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Despite the fact that the world of weariness and political apathy brought about by the film seems to be generic to the western world as put forward by most politicians, in a number of ways it specifically talks about Mexico.
Before the film Amores Perros was released, Mexico had been under the ruling of one party for 80 years. If Americans had taken pride in the movie, they would not have been as happy about the portrait of modern Mexico, which the film gives to its international audiences, including a debauched society, in which individuals fight against each other as dogs from the film do (Berg, 1992).
The paper contains a comparison between the films AmoresPerros and Biutiful. "Biutiful" is the story of Uxbal, which has been played by Bardem. Uxbal is an underworld businessman. In addition, he is a spiritually sensitive man, who takes responsibility for the general well-being of living persons. He is also an intermediary between the living and the dead. Above all, he is a father of two children. Uxbal has custody of his children, since he is divorced with his wife, who is a manic-depressive libertine (Strauss, 2006). The character lives in Santa Coloma enclave of Barcelona, a neighborhood that is surrounded by a number of illegal immigrants from from Romania, China, Senegal and other parts of the world.
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Amores Perros is a combination of three interlinked stories. The title Amores Perros is translated as “Love’s a Bitch”. Apparently, the name has two meanings related to the fact that each of the stories deal with dogs and love. The protagonists of the stories share a compulsive attachment to their dogs. Additionally, they also desperately seek to be in a human relationship, but they are left in despair, as they do not succeed.