Luis Buñuel

Sog., Scen.: Luis Alcoriza, Luis Buñuel. F.: Gabriel Figueroa. M.: Carlos Savage. Scgf.: Edward Fitzgerald. Mus.: Gustavo Pittaluga. Int.: Alfonso Mejía (Pedro), Estela Inda (Marta, madre di Pedro), Miguel Inclán (don Carmelo, il cieco), Roberto Cobo (‘El Jaibo’), Alma Delia Fuentes (Meche), Efraín Arauz (‘El Cacarizo’), Mario Ramírez (‘Ojitos’), Francisco Jambrina (direttore del riformatorio), Javier Amezcua (Julián), Jesús Navarro (padre di Julián). Prod.: Óscar Dancigers, Sergio Kogan, Jaime Menasce per Ultramar Films. DCP. D.: 81’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Their dreams are the measures of their destinies.

André Bazin


Luis Buñuel managed to vanish from the history of the cinema having created two scandalous surrealistic films and one documentary from the poorest corner of Spain. Suddenly he got an assignment in Mexico for two entertainment quickies. During the three following years of unemployment he conducted a thorough study of Mexico City and decided to focus on abandoned children. There is nothing obvious in Buñuel’s account of poverty, and he hated the subtitle Pitié pour eux given to the film in certain countries. He based his account on first-hand observations and official records but defied neorealism by portraying his protagonists as complex figures driven by their unconscious urges. The psychoanalyst Mikael Enckell saw in Un chien andalou “reportages from the repository of repressed temptations”, and the same goes for Los olvidados. The inexplicable dimension is never absent, and the very concept of ‘reality’ is constantly questioned. Nobody can escape except through the blind alley of death. Humanity is put to an extreme test in the character of Jaibo, who has seen her mother only once, “and maybe it was a dream”. A blind man caresses the bare back of a girl with a dove in order to transfer her sickness onto the bird. Nobody was able to create such moments like Buñuel. In his unique blend sex and violence, madness and sanity, good and evil are hard to tell apart, and that is the most authentic distinction of Buñuelian poetry. “The threshold of the dream seems closed forever. Only wounds remain open”, wrote Octavio Paz. But Buñuel’s oneiric revelations seem to transcend our ordinary understanding and trespass into territories that might seem impossible for the cinema to reach.

Peter von Bagh, Elämää suuremmat elokuvat [Films Bigger Than Life], Otava, Helsinki 1989

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Restored in 2019 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Fundación Televisa, Cineteca Nacional México and Filmoteca de la UNAM with funding provided by The Material World Foundation