Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bunuel in Mexico

When one thinks of Luis Bunuel's films, which is obviously very frequently, it's usually his first two: Un Chien Andalou and L'Age d'Or, made with Dali in 1929 & 1930, or his late, commercially successful films, like Belle de Jour or The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise of the 60s & 70s. But in between, he lived and worked in Mexico for some 20 years. It was the tail-end of the so-called 'Golden Age' when, just after the Second World War, movies represented Mexico's third largest industry.
This evening I watched one of his early ones from this period, Los Olvidados (aka The Forgotten), about a gang of street urchins in Mexico City. It won Best Director at Cannes in 1951 and is now considered a classic, but on its Mexican release it was taken by many as an insult to Mexican sensibilities. Good guys get killed, mothers don't love their sons, the ending is a downer and there's a great scene when one of the urchins throws a rotten egg straight at the camera, leaving a gelatinous mess on the glass.  

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