Amores Perros may be the film of the year, but it almost didn’t make it into British cinemas thanks to its controversial dog fight scenes. The List asked director ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU why. Words: Nigel Floyd
urc's :\ Ii’iii'li isn‘t quite right.‘ explains
Alejandro (ion/ale/ lnarritu. ‘but
leIUl‘t’S Perms doesn‘t translate into linglish. It means a loye that‘s tough. a love that hurts.‘ like his astonishing first feature. the Mexican director is precise yet brimming with passion. with more emotional insight and maturity than a man in his late twenties has any right to. Being an ex-radio 1).] and pop yideo maker. it makes sense that he is the precocious talent behind this aural and visual tour de force. More iinpressiye by far. though. is way his sharp intellectual focus. grainy textures and
kinetic energy serye the fierce humanity of
writer (luillermo .»\rriaga Jordan‘s three inter-
Lights, camera. action . . .
l‘lll‘ l-lUMAN ltlt‘rl ll'S \i‘y’AlCll International l llin l'estiyal is now Linden-Jay at Glasgoy'fs GFT, Until BE) May the CH ‘.'.‘|ll he screening) features. dottunrentaries. shorts. animations and expt-zrimental works aimed at adyantting public education on human rights issues. Perhaps they could screen Channel .1 News eOyerage of the detaininent oi May Day protesters at
rioters.i Anya-Jay's. Festival screenings include Iranian y'xoman director Samira Makhrnalhaf's Cannes ay'rzird- ‘.'.’i".llilig Black/wards 18—20 May. so go ahead you one files. be a hit right-on. EUROPEAN CINEMA GETS A much-needed distribution boost from CinéFrance, a new Edinburgh-based company set up as an off- shoot of the city’s annual French Film Festival. CinéFrance’s team, including journalist and
Brimming with passion, insight and maturity
woyen stories about shattered dreams and flickering hope. To capture the chaos. noise. corruption and
criminality behind a Pulp Fiction-style trio of
tales. lﬁz’u‘ritu had to tie his commercials arm behind his back. rigorously work through dozens of script versions. and then rehearse his extensive cast for three weeks. All the film’s technical and yisceral strengths come together hurts,’
in the ferocious dog-
fighting scenes inyolying the na'i'ye ()ctayio‘s psychotically vicious Rottweiller. (‘ofi. By emphasising the build-up and aftermath that bracket these vicious-looking scenes. lnarritu disguises their breyity and ohliqueness. This allows the fired-up audience to imagine they haye witnessed scenes of horrific carnage. when in fact they have seen nothing of the kind.
Ironically. so effective was the director's sleight of hand that the film briefly becatne embroiled in a spurious censorship controyersy. manufactured in part by (Juan/[mi arts correspondent l5iachra (iibbons. In the eyent. haying consulted the RSPCA. the filmmakers and the dog owners. the British censors concluded that this seeming animal sayagery was a testament to the director‘s creatiye skill.
Glasgow’s GFT, will distribute European films in the UK and Ireland. Initial titles include French master Claude Chabrol’s psychological thriller, The Colour Of Lies (Filmhouse from 13 July) and fellow auteur Claude Miller’s La chambre des magiciennes. AND THE \"z’INNER l8 . . Rachel Bevan Baker for The Green Man Of Knots/ledge. Yaaaaayif Wooooo! Baker scooped the prize £1000 cash and a exhibition guaranteei at
‘Amores Perros doesn’t translate into English. It means a love that’s tough, a love that
HUI C\lthllCC Of his c‘dHlllc‘l' tllsl‘c‘g‘dl'd for animal welfare:
‘Xobody asked lllL‘ ll. l really killed somebody in the car crash] comments li‘iarritti with heartfelt irony. ‘I told them. directors are big liars. we create illusions with images and sounds. Of course l worked \ei'y hard to create an emotional stress in the audience. by showing the place where the lights take place. the crowd watching and shouting. and all the blood being swept away. I wanted them to smell the atmosphere. The actual dogfighting scenes last for 2| seconds. but the camerawork and the sound design create the impression of a long. brutal light.'
Anchoring lllL'\L‘ scenes. and sc‘llillg‘ lt‘lllttlt‘ hearts aflutter. is 33—year-old actor (iacl (larcia Bernal. who rcceiyed a phone call about slmori's I’vrrm while studying at the (‘enti'al School of Speech and Drama in London. .\ series of long-distance conycrsalions with the director were meant to bring Bernal tip to speed. but when he arriy ed on set. _iust a few days before shooting began. lfltil'l‘lltl thought he had made a huge mistake. llow'eycr. on the second day. ha\ing quickly adjusted his performance accordingly to doyc—tail with the rest of the well-rehcarsed cast. Bernal had made the role his own.
Not that this made the dog—lighting scenes any easier: a mixture of fear. adrenaline and detailed instruction from the dog-handlers pulled Bernal through. and left him with a profound and lasting insight into humanity's capacity for depray ed. animalistic Violence: ‘Being in that atmosphere. feeling the yibe. was yei'y' painful bill also yery cathartic. It made me more aware of how yiolence damages people. Now I think I know why bulllights exist. Being that close to death is such an instinctual part of ottt'scl\'cs. btit one which we're not generally aware of. You’re at exactly the same leyel. beasts together. After that. you end up loying dogs more. and humans more. and life more.‘
Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 18 May. See review, page 33.
The List has five CD soundtracks and five film posters to give away to the first five correct answers pulled from our top hat to the following question: What award did Amores Perros win at last year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival?
Baker (right) collects her Jim Poole award
London's Oxt’oid Ciieus by the Metropolitan Police. who tarred and feathered the lot as
30 THE LIST ‘0 Ma. ilk)?
Festival director Richard Mowe, Filmhouse director Ken Ingles and Allison Gardner, head of cinemas at
the second annual Cameo Jim Poole Shon Film Award ceremony. held at the end of last month.
APOLOGIES TO THE Celtic Film And TV Festival, which just held an event in Cornwall, where Rough cuts mistakenly
claimed the Festival is based. As we all know very well, the CFATF operate year-round out of Glasgow.