I can just see the dour reception after the premiere the film "Los Olvidados" at its opening in Mexico City in 1950. Many diplomats and political intelligentsia sporadically seated in the crowded theater. 


Before their eyes the depiction of juvenile delinquents in their slum-life of Mexico City cannot be what they had expected. This is a stark, shocking and depressing film that offers no social solution to its exposed problems. 


Sentimental?... not in the least, accurate?... most probably, a great film and fine work of art?... positively!

Los Olvidados

by Luis Buñuel

Review of the film and DVD by Gary W. Tooze

Director Luis Buñuel is a unique cinematic artist and visionary. He was able to project his avant-garde ideals even within the constraints of a studio system. Although "Los Olvidados" (The Young and the Damned) was commercially rejected in the country of its creation, it gained critical acclaim a mere six months later in Cannes, thus identifying his return to the world cinema scene after his breakthrough films 20 years earlier, "L'Âge d'or" of 1930 and "Un chien andalou" in 1929.

A group of children play in a vacant lot, climbing rubble and looking for something... anything to occupy their time. We can already feel the lack of role-models and direction that their lives are taking. Enter Jaibo, a juvenile recently released from detention and hence is looked at as a hero by the other children. He is recruiting members for his proposed gang. This is where impressionable Pedro will accelerate from a poverty-stricken, petty thief, stealing for necessity, to accessory to a senseless, vicious murder.

Buñuel shows Pedro's descent through his acceptance of unnecessarily cruel behavior towards a crusty, old and blind street performer. We witness his unloving Mother and surreal dream of sex, death and sustenance (meat) as well as some of the more hopeless and shocking imagery of the film with one boy abandoned on a street corner by his Father, another suckling a small goat for nourishment. Jaibo eventually beds Pedro's psychologically withdrawn Mother, completing the tragic circle of his hollow, dysfunctional existence.

With such real and suffering imagery, it would have been common place to create some desired Hollywood conventions of hero's and villains, losses and victories. But in this film, no one wins and there are no solutions, just a somber portrait of deprived humanity and the depths of which their future (children) can sink. Okay, on that happy note, how about the good news: this film will stay with you for a long while and attack your social conscience in surprisingly enhanced ways. If Buñuel's goal is to enlighten, awaken and at the same time captivate then he has achieved it in spades with this film, much better than any in my recorded memory. It screams out for recognition and a out of rating.

FILM and DVD Details

This NTSC Region 0 DVD, available from DVDGO.com contains two Luis Buñuel films. Los Olvidados and the documentary Las Hurdes ( Land Without Bread ). Where the quality of Las Hurdes is lacking, most probably due to its age, Los Olvidados is very good. The video picture is clear ( note the above screen captures ). The mono sound could have been improved but because of its historic content, this disc is an extremely valued purchase. It contains removable subtitles in French or English and an alternate ending for Los Olvidados. The negative factor is that Las Hurdes is not subtitled. I still STRONGLY recommend this and give it out of  .

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Cast overview: 

Alfonso Mejía .... Pedro 
Estela Inda .... Pedro's Mother 
Miguel Inclán (I) .... The Blind Man 
Roberto Cobo .... El Jaibo 
Alma Delia Fuentes .... Meche 
Francisco Jambrina .... The Principal 
Jesús Navarro (I) .... The Lost Boy 
Efraín Arauz .... Cacarizo 
Sergio Villarreal 
Jorge Pérez (II) .... Pelon 
Javier Amézcua .... Julian 
Mário Ramírez (II) 
rest of cast listed alphabetically 
Ernesto Alonso 
Victorio Blanco 
Rubén Campos 
Daniel Corona 
Juan Domínguez 
Enedina Díaz de León 
José Luis Echeverría 
Miguel Funes hijo 
Antulio Jiménez Pons 
Patricia Jiménez Pons 
Héctor López Portillo 
José López (I) 
Antonio Martínez (I) 
Ramón Martínez (III) 
Víctor Manuel Mendoza 
Ángel Merino 
José Moreno Fuentes 
Humberto Mostí 
Francisco Muller 
Roberto Navarrete 
Diana Ochoa 
Rosa Pérez (II) 
Salvador Quiroz 
Charles Rooner 
Ignacio Solorzano 
Ramón Sánchez (II) 
Juan Villegas (I) 

Also Known As: 
Young and the Damned, The (1950) 
Runtime: 85 / USA:80 
Country: Mexico 
Language: Spanish 
Color: Black and White 
Sound Mix: Mono 
Certification: Finland:K-16 / Sweden:15 


Audio Features: Mono

Video Features: NTSC

Audio Languages: Mono: Spanish

Subtitles: French, English

Additional Information:
Interactive Menus, Scene Access, Filmographies, Alternative Final

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