“Los Olvidados” is a 1950 Mexican drama film directed by Luis Buñuel. The Spanish title means “The Forgotten Ones”. It is known in the U.S. as “The Young and the Damned”.
It is one of Buñuel’s masterpieces in his Mexican years.
Cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa. The language is Mexican Spanish. 87 minutes.
The story focuses on an orphan Jaibo (Roberto Cobo), the leader of a gang of bad boys, and Pedro (Alfonso Mejía), one of the gang members who is hungry for love because he is neglected by his mother (Estela Inda).
After running away from a reformatory school, Jaibo rejoins a gang of bad boys. Jaibo and his gang repeat offenses, such as an attack on a blind street musician Don Carmelo (Miguel Inclán).
Jaibo believes that he was sent to the reformatory school because his friend Julián (Javier Amézcua) betrayed him. In front of Pedro, Jaibo beats up Julián to death.
Though “Los Olvidados” is a social realism film that portrays the people in the poor districts in Mexico City, like Italian neorealism in the 1940s and 1950s, it also contains elements of surrealism.
In this film, Buñuel, as a cynical atheist, shows how ugly and hopeless actuality is to the audience, without idealizing the characters and without sentiment.
The story ends in tragedy, but an alternate ending (a happy ending) was discovered at the Film Warehouse of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2002.
The film was granted with the Palma de Oro for best director in the 1951 Cannes Festival.
It was registered as “Memory of the World” by UNESCO in 2003.