director Luis Buñuel
“The price of beans goes up, so does the price of songs.”
The lives of the street kids in Mexico City circa 1950 is the subject of Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados. They hustle and steal to survive, abandoned to the streets by parents who can’t or don’t want to care for them. The prologue narration makes it clear that this isn’t just a Mexico City reality, but one that can be found in any major city in the world, including New York and Paris.
And though the settings are the present day of the time, Los Olvidados is as relevant today, nearly 70 years later as when Buñuel made the film.
Buñuel strikes a tone that is unsentimental but still empathetic, depicting harsh brutalities and bitter ironies. Alongside some well-intentioned hopes. The ending is as bleak and ironic as any I can imagine, so much so, it’s nearly comic.
Los Olvidados had been on my watchlist for decades. Way too long. It’s a film I’ll be long mulling over.