Los olvidados

Posted by: | January 20, 2009 | Comments Off on Los olvidados

“Los Olvidados” is a film that calls for social reform in a society where urbanization is calling for drastic measures on people’s lives and it creates a problem that lies in the core of every person. With the use of a very realistic form of filmmaking, obviously being influenced by neo-realism in Italian cinema at the time (with Visconti, and De Sicca being the forefathers of the movement after the second world war), Bunuel achieves his goal of conveying the true Mexico in the streets in this film. I thought that the main message of the film was about the dismissal of education in this society. Never once does an adult actually say “Go to school” but instead they say “Go to work”. Not only that but every time a parent is shown they are shown as either drunk or completetly despondent. This lack of encouragement is what probably leads the kids to a life in the street. What is interesting is that even when Pedro goes to school, it still teaches students about how to do manual work instead of actual school material. This goes back to the theme of urbanization because it suggests that eventually all those workers are going to specialize in some part of society and that they will not be able to move up in the world. That was actually one of the themes in neo-realism as well: the burgeois will always stay burgeois and the poor will always stay poor. This fear of industrialization ran throughout the late 40s, and 50s, and the dangers of industrialization is still seen in third world countries where the separation between the rich and the poor are becoming larger and the middle class is practically non-existent.

I always find it interesting to sympathize with characters that do wrongdoings. I never sympathized with el Jaibo, because he is always shown as cocky and the most violent of the crew, but I sympathized with the rest of the gang. The same that when I see a show like Dexter, or a film like Leon, if the main characters have a reason to do what they are doing and it is justified, you immediately side with them. In this film, at the start, I thought their only motivation was survival, but then I realized that this characters had agendas of their own. They wanted to feel loved, respected, cared after, that is why they go into deliquency. That makes you sympathize with the characters even more and feel a mixture of lament while at the same time rooting for them. I think that if the characters would not have been in the situation they were in (in need for survival in a neglecting society) they would have been viewed as monsters. A perfect example is in Lord of the flies. The characters turn to violence as a form of survival, yet because their actions are not explained in terms of society making them who they are, they are seen as monsters (of course it also has to do with the fact that the narration was biased towards the kids that did not lose their innocence and died for the cause, but even if it came from the point of view of the wild kids it would have still been seen as a loss of innocence)


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