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Los olvidados

Documentary heritage submitted by Mexico and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2003.

The film Los olvidados (in the USA “The Young and the Damned”), made in 1950 by Spanish-Mexican director Luis Buñuel, is the most important document in Spanish about the marginal lives of children in contemporary large cities, and it is also a crude, realist vision, without any concessions, of one part of Mexican society, focalized in a Mexico City slum in which the characters, who have been observed carefully and truthfully, follow their necessary destiny as a result of the social and economic circumstances that surround them. 

With Los olvidados, Buñuel brings to world cinematography a complete work where, without abandoning the surrealist aesthetics of his first films such as El perro andaluz (1928), and La edad de oro (1930), he gives a passionate portrayal of the forgotten ones, in a brutal but honest way, both tragic and poetic; in sum, a film that will always be contemporary. 

Los olvidados faced many difficulties from the start. Buñuel devoted two years of research prior to writing his script, then he had to convince producer Oscar Dancigers to grant him stylistic and ideological freedom, and finally even some of his collaborators, scared of repercussions, asked that their names not be included on the screen credits. 

Dancigers was aware of the problems that this film could face from censorship as well as from conservative groups of Mexican society, or that it might even not be shown at all. He therefore had a “second ending” filmed, almost in secret, which was contrary to the tragic sense of the movie. In the end, due to the support of Mexican intellectuals and the award received at the Cannes Film Festival, the film was successfully shown in its original version, and only fifty years later was the “second ending” discovered. 

The original cellulose nitrate negative of Los olvidados, lost for twenty years, was fortunately found and is now protected in the vaults of Filmoteca of UNAM, having been placed there in deposit by its present owner, Televisa S.A., the company which acquired full patrimonial and related rights, including the original negative, which is the document nominated for Memory of the World.

  • Year of submission: 2003 
  • Year of inscription: 2003 
  • Country: Mexico



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