Monday, August 26, 2013

230. Los Olvidados/The Young and the Damned (1950)

Running Time: 76 minutes
Directed By: Luis Bunuel
Written By: Luis Alcoriza, Luis Bunuel
Main Cast: Roberto Cobo, Alfonso Mejia, Alma Delia Fuentes, Stella Inda, Miguel Inclan


Myself and Luis Bunuel have had a real love/hate relationship going on ever since I started watching my way through the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" text. It has become apparent that he is, as it pertains to my personal tastes, a real hit or miss director and it's obvious that I'm partial to his later works, such as "Belle de Jour" and "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", as opposed to earlier works like "Las Hurdes", "The Age of Gold" and "Los Olvidados".

The film isn't long and is probably one of the first of a theme/idea that would go on to be quite prevalent in the cinematic world and I'm talking about the idea of a thug/hoodlum/criminal trying to turn his/her life around and go down the path of righteousness, only to be pulled back by their hoodlum cohorts. Jaibo (Cobo) is a juvenile who's just been released from prison. Upon his release he immediately hooks back up with his gang of misguided youth. Together the group wastes no time getting back into trouble with Jaibo, first attempting and later succeeding in robbing a blind man. Jaibo's best friend is Pedro (Mejia), who wants nothing more than to be good and to make his mother proud, but for one reason or another can't escape the path of villainy. His mother (Inda), on the other hand, has given up on Pedro, no longer concerned for him, like a mother who has finished mourning for a the lost soul of a son she once had. Meanwhile, Jaibo takes it upon himself to track down the boy responsible for ratting him out and sending him to jail, Julian and kills him. When the news of Julian's death breaks, Pedro and Jaibo are the only two who know the truth about Julian's murder.

Ya' know, I read that plot synopsis that I just wrote and I think to myself, "Now, why didn't you like that? It sounds so good!". However, there was just something about the picture that repelled me and honestly, even at seventy-six minutes, I was doing a lot of clock watching with this one. In his early days, Bunuel seemed to be more concerned with making poetic statements, so much so that he threw plot & story to the wind. Granted, this one has a viable plot, it's just that it's obvious that Bunuel's modus operandi is to send a message and not tell a story. Not only does he harp on the "criminal escaping the path of villainy" plot line, but he also aims to tell us that youth brought up in impoverished circumstances are more likely to become criminals. Sure, that's true and honestly, I don't think Luis was really telling us (even the "us" of the 1950s) anything we didn't already know. So why do the youth of less wealthy homes turn to from the path of righteousness? Honestly, I don't know and the film really didn't urge me to think it over any further, not did it even try answer the question itself. It simply spoke to us, made it's statements and "FIN".

I feel like I'm rambling more than usual here, so I need wrap this up. All I can tell you about this one is that it's short and there seems to be a spark of something there, yet I just didn't take to it at all. I liked the themes that were explored and the ideas that were set forth, however I had major problems with the execution and ultimately I chalked it up to Bunuel being a little too "out there" in his younger days, as far as his mindset.

RATING: 4.5/10  I'll give it some points, but in the end it's something that will probably, easily be forgotten. Either I'm getting a lot pickier, or this has just been a rough start to the season. I REALLY need something stellar to come soon.


August 26, 2013  10:49pm


  1. where did you find a copy of this? its not on dvd


  2. I was not a fan of this movie either. However in terms of message Bunuel seemed to be saying that left to themselves there is no escape for the poor as opposed to the Western liberal idea that you are responsible for your own life and fortune. The movie is an appeal to us as viewers to step in and help.

    1. Great thoughts on the overall message of the film! This was forgettable to me though and even now, I struggle to remember the key points.


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