LOS OLVIDADOS (Luis Buñuel, 1950)

Little stressed by the liberal message that the producer tacked onto its front end, Luis Buñuel’s The Forgotten Ones (in the U.S., The Young and the Damned) benefits from Thomas Carlyle’s invention of the concept of environment in the nineteenth century. Buñuel draws a causal connection between ghetto poverty and the violent behavior of street […]

ÉL (Luis Buñuel, 1952)

Whereas his Los olvidados (1950) focused on Mexico City’s juvenile delinquent poor, Luis Buñuel’s Él—in Spanish, the masculine definite article, but released in the States as This Strange Passion—addresses elite society. Mexican landowner Don Francisco is to be reckoned with.      Él opens in church. A priest washes and kisses a long line of boys’ bare […]

LAS HURDES (Luis Buñuel, 1932)

Luis Buñuel’s Spanish documentary, known in the States as Land Without Bread, is a portrait of backward lives barely surviving in abject poverty. The Hurdanos are mountain villagers in a remote, nearly inaccessible region of Spain near Portugal. This study in “human geography,” though, isn’t what it seems.      To reach Las Hurdes, Buñuel’s expedition must […]