Luis Bunuel classic from 1950. It is a tale of savage acts committed by impoverished youths in Mexico City. It is a film that has been kept fresh by its spirit and its style. Far from being puppets in a sermon on poverty, the characters are vivid creatures whose fierce desires are the focus of Bunuel’s attention.
In his unique storytelling, he not only finds forceful images in the dramas reality, but adds a masterful dream sequence.
The very opening shots and voice-over warn us that this was not an optimistic movie. It instantly made me believe this would be Las Hurdes in Mexico, something like a fictionalised version of Buñuel’s 1933 faux-documentary about the extreme poverty of the peasants in the remote Spanish Las Hurdes region. In the first half hour, Los Olvidados’s mood and style remained faithful to the influence of several Italian neo-realist movies I’d seen, namely De Sica and perhaps some early Pasolini (namely, Accattone). In a looser sense, maybe also Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! seemed to have gotten some inspiration from Buñuel’s movie. And finally, I could also and more obviously see that Fernando Meirelles’s Cidade de Deus (City of God) owed more than a little to this 1950 masterpiece. I love it when I finally get to see the movie that has influenced so many other (usually minor, but more famous) films that have followed it even several decades after its release! Los Olvidados would still have been an excellent film, even if it had remained Italian neo-realistic-like till the end. But to my delight and wonder, it became something much more unique and memorable as soon as its own distinct, Buñuelian flavour kicked in halfway through, IMO elevating this picture to something more than “just” powerfully gritty and cinematically honest…
includes alternate ending with English srt
Subtitles:English & Spanish idx/sub