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For the scenes where the dogs appeared to be dead or dying, the animals were actually heavily sedated under the careful eye of the Mexican SPCA. Multiple dogs that looked like one dog seen on screen were also used, so that the same dog was not under sedation for more than half an hour and not more than once a day at a time.
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Shot in some of the more dangerous parts of Mexico City. It was not uncommon for the production crew to be robbed by street gangs.
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Controversial because of the fact it depicts dogfights, the dogs seen fighting each other were actually just playing. Careful editing makes it look a lot more vicious. Their muzzles were also covered with very fine fishing line so they were unable to bite each other.
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The first film in a loose trilogy of death, all directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. The next two films were 21 Grams (2003) and Babel (2006). Between them, all three films earned 10 Academy Award nominations.
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Unlike most films, a disclaimer stating that no animals were harmed in the making of the movie comes at the beginning instead of being buried in the credits.
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The first cut was ten minutes longer and Alejandro G. Iñárritu wasn't entirely happy with it. After sharing his doubts with a friend, this one proposed he should show him to the more experienced Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. After seeing it, Del Toro said to González Iñárritu that he should trim it a little bit, because he saw a great movie that could be a masterpiece, to which the director argued back. Del Toro then asked permission to make a shorter cut, which González Iñárritu granted. After seeing his friend's cut, the filmmaker agreed with him and made together the final 150 minutes cut.
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The man who plays the bus driver in the scene where Octavio (Gael García Bernal) decides not to get on the bus is Bernal's father, José Ángel García.
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The Red Hot Chili Peppers' music video for their song "By The Way" was inspired by the film's opening car chase scene.
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All the images shown on the TV sets during the picture are commercials. These commercials were also directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. They include a TV station promotional, an ad for a bank, among others.
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The title can be roughly translated into "Love's a Bitch", tying in with the relevance of dogs in each of the three separate story strands.
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The car crash sequence was shot with nine simultaneous cameras, including two on adjacent rooftops and one hidden in a trash barrel. A stunt driver was in the black car, while the model's car contained a remote-controlled animatronic dummy. A practice run caused the black car to accidentally tear the rear bumper off the model's car, but since it was getting late, it was stuck back on and the shot attempted in toto. This time the model's car spun around, overshot its projected target by at least 100 meters, and smashed into a taxicab parked by the side of the road. This take was used in the final print.
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It took seven months to edit all the three story strands together to Alejandro G. Iñárritu's satisfaction.
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First feature film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
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El Chivo sarcastically congratulates Luis Miranda Solares for his imagination comparing him with a Publicist which is the occupation of the Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The only film by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as of 2017) that does not feature at least one Academy Award-nominated performance at this moment, because Adriana Barraza was nominated later.
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Narrowly avoided being banned in the UK due to the country's strict laws about abusing animals in film. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu managed to persuade the British Board of Film Classification that the dogfight sequences were all simulated and his film was subsequently passed uncut.
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The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England filed a complaint to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) about a 21-second dog fight scene.
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In a scene when Valeria is flipping through magazines in the apartment, an article about Brad Pitt is seen. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu later collaborated with Pitt in Babel (2006).
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El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría) shouts at Luis (Jorge Salinas) "You are so clever! You must be a publicist," during the kidnapping scene. Salinas played a publicist in Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (1999).
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One of the main characters name is El Chivo and Chivo is the nickname of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who later worked in several films directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. However, Lubezki didn't shiot this film.
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When El Chivo is reading the newspaper, one of the ads is an image from Abre Los Ojos, a movie by Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar.
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