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Outstanding Piece of World Cinema,
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This review is from: Los Olvidados [DVD] (DVD)
This is a true classic, made by visionary film maker, Luis Buñuel, who started in 1929 and sadly passed in 1983. During that time he made arguably, some of the best cinema in the world including a Mexican set version of `Wuthering Heights' in 1954. This film was made in 1950 and is set in the slums of Mexico and tells the story of some of the juvenile delinquents. Ostensibly telling the story of Pedro, who gets pulled by his compatriots into wrong doing.
They are utterly ruthless getting involved with robbing a blind man and a paraplegic man simply for his cigarettes. There is the crushing poverty that is shown by the desperation of Pedro's mother who can not show him any love as he is just another nuisance mouth to feed who won't get a job. There is also the story of the little country boy, who has been abandoned by his father but finds some solace with those who take pity on him, he is nick named `Small Eyes' and he is so sweet it is hard to comprehend who would abandon such a child.
The whole film has a vitality that shines off the screen even after all these years. The actors are all superb and the cinematography a true joy. There were for me reminiscences of `Oliver Twist' at one point or more accurately David Leans film of the book. This was one of the first two films preserved by UNESCO as being of major social importance, the other one was Fritz Lang's `Metropolis', so it is amazing that it is still relatively unknown.
It was received, in its day, very badly being criticised by all corners of society as being unrepresentative of Mexico and just too brutal causing it to be pulled from cinemas after only three days in some instances. Suffice to say it is now recognised as being a brilliant study of poverty and crime and very much a true representation of that time. The fact that it still has the power to shock is a testament to the talent of Bunuel. This was originally thought to be an eight reel film, but recently a ninth reel was discovered that contains the alternative happy ending, which I have not seen. This is for true fans of cinema, artistic, realistic, entertaining and shocking for all the right reasons - an absolute classic.