Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Los olvidados

Los olvidados had quite the negative tone from start to finish just as was mentioned at the beginning of the movie. This film depicted a raw and explicit image of the day in the life of impoverished youth in the slums of Mexico City but to an exaggerated extent to possibly send the message to really get the point across to the audience; give something for them to talk about and then the social issues are understood. For example, the film didn't just show youth stealing apples or ripping off stores, it when as far as to show a blind man and disabled man getting pushed around, humiliated, and robbed. This was to show how brutal and heartless these characters really were. This film had a few elements similar to Aguila o sol such as the issue of social class being the central theme, both dealing with the lesser class, but it is important to note that Aguila o sol showed the two social classes of the have's and have not's where in Los olvidados it was entirely the have not's . Also, the main characters in both films not having strong family values, especially the lack of father figures, and the use of dream sequences to act as a sobering experience for change to Polito and Pedro. That would be most of the similarities to the two films as there were more differences in terms of direction and tone. The main difference that sticks out is the fact that Los olvidados has a negative tone from start to finish and has no happy, or at least, positive ending. Polito gets his father and saves his friendships, whereas Pedro ends up dead. The problems that are faced at the beginning are not resolved and just as there was a hope for a positive outcome, such as in the case of Pedro's mother finally accepting her son or when Pedro is attempting to change his life to a positive direction, tragedy and misfortune strikes and no silver lining is considered. The character of El Jaibo is shown to be the consistent and persistent criminal who has a bad intention in every judgement he makes. As Pedro attempts to better himself and to win over his mother, El Jaibo is there to lure him back. An example of this is during the slow motion dream where Pedro is yearning for his mothers' affection and acceptance and when she offers him the meat, there is El Jaibo nearby who takes his food away and ultimately ruins his dream. One last thing to mention was the fact that I did not like Don Carmelo, the blind man. At the beginning of the movie, where he gets roughed up, I felt bad for him and thought he would be a fighter for justice but towards the end he is like the criminals he despises as he did not have any morals in him. The way he treat Ojitos and the girl Meche and his view on justice, which was to kill the criminals, made him just as bad.


  1. You made two interesting points that I am going to comment on.
    First, I agree that in the movie the have not's were the only ones represented, however there is one scene were a middle-upper class man tries to take Padro in a cab probably to molest him. I think that the purpose of that sequence was to connect the social classes and give an idea to the audience on how and how often they interact. Also I think that Bunuel wanted to make clear that the slums are only one part of Mexico city instead of the only part.

    The second point you made was about the dream in which Jaibo, Pedro and The mother are protagonists. I thought that Bunuel was trying to insinuate some kind of incestous feelings between Pedro and her mother. I got that impression not from the way the characters interacted but by the fact that Jaibo was almost competting with Pedro for the love of the same women.

  2. I agree with you that this film provides some shock value, something for the audience to chew on, in terms of the behaviour of the characters. However, I find this film to be pretty realistic, and I think that robbing a blind man, etc., as shocking as it is, could prove to be realistic (especially in the desperate situations many of these kids find themselves in)

    In terms of what Carolinitiquitica said, I think Jaibo and Pedro were both competing for the mother's love, but I wouldn't see it in a sexual way. I find they are both seeking motherly love, a presence neither of them have in their lives.

  3. I agree with the fact that Los Olvidados is essentially a negative film, and that even the blind man, who would normally be a symbol of pity, does not evoke sympathy since at the end he seems to have lost his perspective of social morals.

    I also agree with what you said about Bunuel exaggerating the youth crime to get the point across. Even though it's supposed to be a documentary, it doesn't always seem realistic.

  4. The immorality and anger of the ciego also struck me. For me, he is one of the major contributors to the pessimism of the film, since he doesn't look at the boys as needing help, as the city needing help; he just wants to go back to Porfirio Diaz's time and wishes the troubled children were all killed.
    For me, Meche and the School Director are by far the most (and perhaps the only) uplifting characters of the film - the only ones that give us hope.
    I also agree that the actions of the children are exaggerated, even if they are real events, Bunuel could of shown other less extreme parts of life as well...

  5. To me, the way the blind man treated children and the way he dealt with things, represented the traditional mexican method of taking care of things. These values have a great influence on the younger generation and it just becomes a bad cycle that no one can escape from; under the teaching of men like el ciego, the children learn to solve problems with violence and violence causes even more violence.

  6. I was also so shocked to see the blind man turn into a creepy, abusive blind man, which also furthers your point that this story was made up of almost entirely unlikeable characters, but at the same time, the viewer has sympathy for them. I thought the dialogue and the psychology within it were both incredible and very believable and real. The dream sequence made perfect sense to me in this film, whereas I was sort of wondering what the hell was going on in the dream sequence from "Aguila O Sol."

  7. I don't think that the blind man turned into a creepy man. From the start we are meant to feel sorry for him for living in the past, but I think he was always a creepy man, he just took advantage of the fact that he was blind to make some money. He is a representation of the values in Mexico before the 20th century, a very conservative ideology that is kept through his songs and comments.
    About the dream sequence, I thought it was out of place. I understand because of Bunuel loving surrealism, but if you are goign to make a realistic film that goes along the same lines as a documentary then you cant just stick a dream sequence in there. That is my opinion. It was out of place, which is not the same as it was not good.