The Magic of Threes

Thinking about triangles, brings to mind a relationship of threes. Three sides, three points, three perspectives – full of vertices, rotations, and transitional areas. But in my opinion, a triangle is all about drama. Drama that happens with so much intensity that it creates magic. That’s power of Three!

The best human collectives in history came in groups of three, like the three Musketeers, Charlie’s angels or Alvin and the Chipmunks. But personally I prefer the ‘trios’ from Woody Allan’s movies, like the one with Penelope Cruz, sexy Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem, or why not the love triangle of Carlos Mayolo, his wife Patricita Restrepo and Andrés Caicedo. However on this occasion I’m going to talk specifically about the relationship between Alejando Gonzales Iñarritu and his first two partners in crime, Guillermo Arriaga and Rodrigo Prieto. As Film makers, this trio kicked Hollywood’s ass back in 2000. That was the year that the world got to learn about a Latin cinema through the film Love’s a Bitch, aka Amores Perros.

Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu is undubtedly the most famous Mexican film director, producer and screenwriter today. He already has several Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTA’s, Golden Palms, Lions (Venice film festival) and Bears (Berlin film festival) under his belt. Yet, his success comes from not only his his good timing, but also his strong artistic vision and tenacity. From the very beginning Alejandro knew that a great story and flawless cinematography was key, and with himself at the helm of the project he knew exactly who he needed to help him realize what in my opinion is still his masterpiece, the afore mentioned Perros amores.

Back in 1999 Rodrigo Prieto was working as a Cinematographer on notable films like,“ Oedipus Mayor”, a film written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and directed by Jorge Ali Triåna. At the same time a writer named Guillermo Arriaga was working on a documentary called “ABC discapacidad”, investigating the quality of life and the challenges of people with disabilities in Mexico. These experiences seem to have influenced the realism in Iñarritu’s writing style and choice of subject matter. 

When the moment came for Alejandro to create his first feature film, he knew how to connect the dots. With Arriaga as his screenwriter and Prieto as his cinematographer, he set to work on the movie his masterpiece as the director and producer. This movie is a multi layered, inter-connected, drama/triller that explores the deep and at times, dark side of people and society. It was a film that broke records in Latin America’s film culture, and gained recognition around the world with screenings in all of the major Film Festivals. Amores Perros made it’s way from the Toronto Film Festival to Tokyo, San Paulo, New York, Cannes and more, until finally winning an Oscar Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001. This film ‘Trio’ was also part of a series of films known in film culture as the “Trilogy of Death”:

  1. Amores Perros (2000), Featuring young Gael Garcia Bernal, and Emillio Echavarria.
  2. 21 Grams( 2003) starring Sean Penn,Naomi Warts, and Benicio del Toro.
  3. Babel (2006) starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Gael Bernal.

Unfortunatly with success came trouble. Friction between Alejandro and his writer, Guillermo Arriaga began to arise. During Babel’s production, the two had a big falling out over the film credits as Arriaga felt that he was not getting the recognition he deserved. The writer argued that cinema was a collaborative medium and that both he and Iñarritu should have shared credits over the entire project, but Iñarritu was determined on claiming sole credit. As as result, Iñarritu banned Arriaga from attending the 2006 Cannes Film Festival to great criticism from his peers.

Despite the result of this ‘Triangle’ collective. The creation between these three brilliant minds have left us a legacy in the universal language of Cinema. Today the three are still creating films with the most acclaimed directors, producers and actors in the industry.

Hopefully our still obscure collective Trio THE EDISONS will have a similar importance on a worldwide level…without the bad drama.

Edison D.



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