Though an uncharacteristic film for Buñuel, Los Olvidados manages to balance a serious portrayal of real life with warming moments of surrealism, manifest in a dream that Pedro has of the boy that he and Jaibo kill. In setting the scene, Buñuel strongly gets across the idea that these children have had to band together out of circumstance, and Pedro’s active desire to leave this life behind make him seem more mature than even the oldest of the street urchins. Buñuel’s psychological investment in his characters allows the film to serve as an ethnological document as well as a gripping twist on the crime genre without trivialising the subject matter. With its focus on the precocious development of children, Los Olvidados is a remarkably timeless feature (the relevance of which will scarcely diminish), and would make a brilliant double feature with Forbidden Games.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
Set in the unforgiving landscape of an impoverished barrio in Mexico City, Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados places focus on the lives of children forgotten by society, and the interpersonal relationships they form in order to survive. Jaibo, a teenager well respected by many of the younger local kids, escapes from a correctional facility and enlists the assistance of his friend Pedro to get revenge on those who wronged him. Feeling that his involvement has sent him in the wrong direction, he elects to repair his relationship with his mother, but his connection to Jaibo threatens to draw him permanently into the life of a downtrodden street urchin.