Buñuel: Real and Surreal

Los Olvidados (1950) - Luis Buñuel


Los Olvidados - billed in English as The Young and the Damned - was directed by legendary filmmaker Luis Buñuel. In 1950, he was best known for his surrealist works like Un chien andalou and L'Âge d'Or. However, Land Without Bread, Buñuel's 1933 parody of ethnographic documentaries, showed he knew how to handle a more realistic style.

Los Olvidados lies more closely to social realism than surrealism. The story is pretty standard for the genre. Impovershed boys in Mexico City turn to crime. Pedro becomes an accompalice to murder and the social order attempts to reform him. Buñuel, of course, was less than committed to realism. The narrative breaks for Pedro to have a dream sequence, and the boy throws an egg at the camera late in the film.

Buñuel saw surrealism as in some ways more accurate than standard realism. It certainly doesn't make the film any less harsh. Like most of his movies, Los Olvidados was unpopular with the government, which was trying to portray Mexico as an englightened, progressive state.

Los Olvidados is #113 on the TSPDT 1,000 list I'm blogging through.  I've now seen 398.