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
This film was very poorly received in Mexico when originally released, with particular resentment directed at the Spaniard Luis Buñuel, as a foreigner, for exposing the nation's problems with poverty and crime. In fact, it was only after Buñuel won Best Director at Cannes that the film's quality was reevaluated by Mexican critics and audiences. Critical opinion of the film in Mexico is now very high: in a 1994 poll for the magazine Somos, Los Olvidados was named the second greatest Mexican film of all time. (Let's Go with Pancho Villa (1936) - directed by Fernando de Fuentes, was ranked first.) See more »
In a shot of Pedro's corpse, the victim can clearly be seen breathing. See more »
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 »
I just saw this at the local art house theatre and I realized that I've never seen a decent print of this masterpiece which ranks alongside Citizen Kane and the Bicycle Thieves as the greatest film ever made. What a shame? I'm waiting for Criterion or somebody to restore it and give it the respect it so rightfully deserves.
However, watching butchered, scratched prints with a muddy soundtrack has given the film a charm and personality. It's as dirty and grungy as the story it is telling.
This film is perfect. It's the closest thing to artistic TRUTH that I've seen. And yes the characters are rotten but they break your heart. Just when you think Jaibo is one of the screens greatest villains, he tells a story about being abandened as a child, and seeing the beautiful face of a woman who looked like a saint who may or may not have been his mother. Powerful stuff. Never have I seen a more relentless and brutal film. It never shys away from the truth and try to sugar coat it. All the kids are complex. They're neither innocents or devils. The story of troubled youth and urban violence have been told countless of times, but this is the real deal and the measuring stick for all.
28 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this