Los Olvidados/The Forgotten Ones is a film directed by Luis Buñuel, which stands apart from his other works. As with great creative artists, Buñuel is multifaceted. Consider the sheer range of his output! Between his surrealist phase (Un Chien Andalou, L’Age D’Or) and his last which were done in Europe (Belle de Jour) falls the present film and it is a bitter indictment of poverty.
Over an opening montage of the some famous landmarks – the Manhattan skyline, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower – the narrator sets down the film’s motto: “behind every beautiful city are poor children.”
In one of the film’s early scenes, we see Jaibo, a gang leader, beats his rival Julian to death in the shadow of a half-built high-rise building. Yes beneath the secular cathedral reaching out to the sky things are as before: it is a shadowy world where desperation turns the knife where it will. The plot concerns Jaibo and his associate, Pedro, and their efforts to evade punishment for Julian’s death. The gang leader is sly and intelligent and we see through the eyes of Pedro his predicament. The hold of the more brutal and older Jaibo has the nightmarish clarity of a waking dream.
There is a dream( the surrealist in Buñuel cannot resist I suppose) and it is brilliant. For Pedro the only softening hold, like security blanket is his mother. In Pedro’s dream the disturbing sight of Julian’s bloody dead body under the bed is offset by the pacifying visage of his mother, soothing him, “Listen, you’re not that bad. I’d like to be with you all the time.” Pedro offers to work in support of his mother, but wonders why she refused him any of the meat she had served to her other children. She smiles, and walks in his direction in slow motion, a rotting slab of diseased-looking meat in her hand. As she walks, a long, distended hand emerges from beneath the bed, looking supernaturally extended as it grasps at the meat. This hand is revealed to be Jaibo’s, at which point the dream ends.
The dream exposes the rot like the worm in the forbidden fruit at the Garden of Eden, and Pedro must live with it. As a coda to this we hear Pedro tells his mother who leaves him at the Farm School,“ Just now you remember that I’m your son”. Between the harsh reality represented in Jaibo and redemption that his mother holds out to him, his life has drawn from both and how he is torn by it makes a powerful film.
Alfonso Mejía, Estela Inda, Roberto Cobo, Migual Inclán, Efraín Arauz, Alma Delia Fuentes
Óscar Dancigers, the producer, asked Buñuel to direct this film after the success of the 1949 film El Gran Calavera. Buñuel already had a script ready titled ¡Mi huerfanito jefe! about a boy who sells lottery tickets. However, Dancigers had in mind a more realistic and serious depiction of children in poverty in Mexico City.
After conducting some research, Jesús Camacho and Buñuel came up with a script that Dancigers was pleased with. The film can be seen in the tradition of social realism, although it also contains elements of surrealism present in much of Buñuel’s work.
It is considered number two among the 100 best movies of the cinema of Mexico and earned Best Director and Best Film awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
* UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. This film and ‘Fritz Lang”s Metropolis (1927) are the first two movies (and in 2004, the only two movies) with this recognition.
* Recently a ninth roll off the movie was found after decades of thinking that the movie only had eight. The ninth roll includes an alternative “happy” ending, and is included in a new DVD released in Mexico with a book about the movie.
* When it was released in Mexico in 1950, its theatrical commercial run only lasted for three days due to the enraged reactions from the press, government, and upper and middle class audiences.
* The film unfolds exactly in 365 shots.
Duration of the film: 88minutes
(Ack: wikipedia,sensesoffilm- Saul Austerlitz)