A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
Caridad de Laberdesque
An unstable young woman escapes from a reformatory for very, very wayward girls and deceptively finds shelter in the kind home of a frighteningly nice and decent family. Little by little, ... See full summary »
Víctor Manuel Mendoza
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 »
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 »
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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