Amores Perros

“Now that our economy is going to the dogs
Maybe we’ll have flamenco music like they’ve always done in Spain
Maybe we’ll have a champion like Rafael Nadal
Full of passion and the need to prove himself time and again
 
And maybe Hollywood starts making movies that the world can love
Sad and bittersweet and full of pain…”

–          Dan Bern, “Raining in Madrid”

On Tuesday night, I watched the Mexican film, Amores Perros. It is a profoundly beautiful, yet profoundly wrenching, film – and it continues to haunt me now still days later. It was not an easy film to watch, but I am thrilled that I watched it.

Like The Deer Hunter, or Brokeback Mountain, or more recently, No Country for Old Men, it is one of those films that you struggle to get through because you know that tragedy and pain are the only logical conclusions for all of the characters, but you still want to watch it again as soon as it ends. It is sad without being manipulative, and while it is horrifically violent, it is not violent simply for the shock value, the violence instead feels like another character in the film – it feels integral.

I highly recommend it.

I am not the first person to say this (see Dan Bern lyrics above) but Latin filmmakers have a certain knack for passionate, gritty, sad filmmaking that Americans just do not possess. This is not to say that Latin movies overall are better than American movies – there are of course many, many wonderful American films, and surely just as many terrible Latin films – but they have qualities that American films do not. Not necessarily better, but definitely different, and quite worthy of one’s time.

The same could be said for world sport and American sport. Cricket and baseball. Football and soccer.

Not better. Not worse. Just different.

And worthy of one’s time.

I think American sports fans should all take the time and learn to understand not just the rules of European sport, but also get to know the passion, the grit, the sadness, and the joy of soccer, cricket, rugby. As I think it would add to their overall enjoyment of baseball and gridiron football. Like traveling to distant places forces you to look at your home with a different perspective, and to ultimately understand it better.

In other words: Americans: quit being so insular: get out there and experience all that this big old world has to offer: its art, its film – and its sport.

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