Hell-bent on revenge, the cocky reform-school runaway, El Jaibo, returns to his old neighbourhood in post-World-War-II Mexico City's poor and squalid slums, to reunite with his faithful gang of juvenile delinquents and street urchins. However, as the dangerous ringleader lives and breathes retribution, his destructive obsession to find the informant who supposedly sent him to jail will intricately interweave his bitter fate with that of Pedro, his weak and unwitting accessory, in a despicable act of pure evil. In the end, are humans inherently good or bad--and above all--is immorality contingent with society?Written by
SPOILER: In the director's cut, Pedro is stabbed to death by Jaibo, and Meche and her grandfather dump his body outside the town. The blind man denounces Jaibo to the police, who shoot Jaibo when fleeing arrest. Pedro's mother is left alone alone, in despair. A shorter "happy" ending, never used by the director, was filmed probably to accommodate censorship authorities or the sensibilities of the distributors: Jaibo dies in an accidental fall when he's fighting Pedro, who retrieves the stolen banknote from him. Pedro has a short conversation with Ojitos, and then returns to the reformatory farm-school (to a loud musical crescendo). See more »
Buñuel's most serious, concerned and poignant film. If 'les Quatre cent coups' (1959, Truffaut) is good, this is brilliant. Only the cinematography, which is still very good, can not equal the level of that film. Everything in this meticulous film has a purpose: nothing is left to coincidence and 10 seconds missed is fatal (the brilliance we're only used from Kurosawa and Eisenstein). Buñuel uses his intuitive graphics and metaphoric sequences, rather than fancy lighting and cocky cinematography, to emphasize his concern with the boys (the protagonists: the 'forgotten ones') and his aversion to the apathy of the fathers (who haven't much screen time) who mind-numbed think about sanctions rather than the causes of the delinquency.
'Los Olvidados' deals with the distance between two generations, especially the distance between fathers and sons. Where that distance in 'a Clockwork Orange' and 'Fight Club' leads to virtually unbridled violence, and in 'les Quatre cent coups' (1959, Truffaut) to other misdemeanors, not to mention the innocent mischief in 'les Mistons' (1957, Truffaut, short), here it leads to callousness and abuse of whatever is in the way. But in the way of what? Do the lives of 'the forgotten ones' have a direction at all, apart from trite survival?
Although M (1931, Fritz Lang) already focuses on the psychological problems that delinquents can have (first serial killer on celluloid ever), the other movies mentioned above are all younger, so I tend to believe that Los Olvidados was a groundbreaking film and inspired the other filmmakers. Correct me if I'm wrong. Los Olvidados deals with the distance from the apathetic parents, in Clockwork the parents are petit-bourgeois populace, in Fight Club seem to exist no parents at all (generation x) and in Quatre cent coups the parents have their own problems and not enough persuasiveness to create a solid ground. Finally Los Olvidados reminded me of 'Rocco e i suoi fratelli' (1962, Visconti), where a family moves to the city too and a disciplinary father figure lacks.
This is another Buñuel film that seems to have no precise beginning and no end. It's just there with all its brilliance to raise a matter, and should not be missed, for it demands a distinguished place in film history somewhere between M and A Clockwork Orange.
Why o why can't we vote 11 :(
23 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this