Fantômas makes it as the emperor of Crime. First is the robbery at the Royal Palace Hotel. Then he abducts Lord Beltham. As Fantômas' fame increases actor Valgrand creates the rôle of ... See full summary »
Celestine, the chambermaid, has new job on the country. The Monteils, who she works for are a group of strange people. The wife is frigid, her husband is always hunting (both animals and ... See full summary »
A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Where do I start? Perhaps, by writing WOW a few hundred times in a row...
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 (as can be said and admired in the works of De Sica, Rossellini et al). To be honest, though I AM Italian and the spirit of neo-realism is somehow deeply embedded in my cultural subconscious, my problem with the Italian neo-realists has always been their lack of vision, or refusal to also venture into the otherworldly, the spiritual, the dream-like, the allegorical. Though I bow before the greatness of the Italian neo-realist masters, I will never feel completely conquered by their otherwise mesmerising pictures. Before watching Los Olvidados, I was never quite sure of the reason for this. With this movie, Buñuel has finally put his finger on exactly what I've always found was missing in pictures like Sciuscià, Accattone and Roma Città Aperta for them to truly get not just under my skin, but into my wildest dreams and imagination as well - an ability to interweave the fantastical in something that couldn't be more grounded in reality. Yet, why can't the lives of the underprivileged underbelly of the world, in this case a Mexican shantytown of the late 40s, also evoke magic? Is the fantastical only a privilege of the bougeoisie? I think not! Thank you, Buñuel, for inspiring me into thinking about this...
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