A group of juvenile delinquents lives 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... Read allA group of juvenile delinquents lives 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.A group of juvenile delinquents lives 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.
Buñuel: before and after him
To better understand this movie is necessary to make some history. By 1950, Mexico was involved in the filming golden era. Histories about brave Mexican machos riding horses, singing songs to beautiful girls and drinking a lot of tequila were produced with success. By that time, actors like Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete and Pedro Armedariz were real idols and people were in line to see the most recent productions. Then Luis Buñuel wrote the story about the poverty and conditions of street children in Mexico City. No matter that the production, photography, direction and even the performances of relatively unknown actors were most than good, no matter that for the first time in Mexico someone produced a film totally different, with the influence of the Italian Neo-realism, No matter that someone had the guts to film the reality of the majorities living in big cities, Buñuel was severally criticized and even censored. The film produced a lot of reactions in the prosper Mexico. How is possible that someone could say that this is the reality in this country? How is possible that a person from another country filmed a Mexican history about something that really he didn't know? At that time, most of the persons were against the movie, but then something happen. In Cannes Festival (1951) Los Olvidados received the award for best direction and all reviews and comments about the film and Buñuel were positive. When the international festival ended, Mexican authorities decided to release the movie again to the cinemas and the success was immediate. By the end of the year (1951) Los olvidados won 11 Ariel awards (Oscar equivalent for Mexican productions), including the golden Ariel for best picture and three different awards for Buñuel (directing, screenplay and adaptation). Why is important to mention this? Fortunately, for the good of filming industry worldwide, Buñuel received the support and budget to continue with his projects. Probably the history had been very different if Cannes festival didn't recognize the work of one of the greatest directors ever. Now, this movie is considered as a cult and classic, and a reference for many film makers world wide. Directors like Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Godard, Kubrick and so many more talked about this film (and Buñuel work in general) as magnificent, superb, brilliant. That's why this film is so important. Talking about the movie and the history, we can stand out the surrealist images along the entire movie. The scene of Pedrito's dream is nothing but brilliant. Then when the blind man is assaulted by the young kids there is a reference with the chicken in front of him. When El Jaibo is killed by the cop we see the image floating around with a dog. This is the first FREE work of Buñuel since the "the golden age" in 1930. He made a totally new concept for Mexican films. He told the audiences that real life is not a happy history, is made of common people with problems, passions, misery and even in that conditions is possible to have the most deeply emotions. He showed on screen the impacting endings, beautiful images and shakes the conscience of thousands. "Los olvidados" is one of his finest films and with no doubt the first great Mexican movie (fair to mention Emilio Fernadez' "Maria Candelaria (1944) and "Publerina" (1948) as it closest contending). Recently and alternate ending for the movie was released to the public. In that sequence we saw Pedrito returning to the children house, after he bought the cigarettes to the principal. A happy end. He was forced to shoot it, but again, fortunately the crude and strong outcome prevailed for the good of the history, to show us that a lot of times real life is not necessary a happy conclusion, that sometimes there are children with good intentions in wrong environments, that poverty is a monster that is consuming the majority, that horrible crimes could be committed with apparently cold blood; that sometimes someone (like Buñuel) could shake our conscience once a while. "Los Olvidados" a must see movie and reference.
- Feb 17, 2005
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