The winner of two Cannes Film Festival awards, Luis Buñuel's Los Olvidados (aka The Forgotten Ones and The Young and the Damned) was the director's first international box-office success.
Yet Buñuel showed no signs of curbing the outrageous iconoclasm that made him famous in Europe and South America; one of the more lasting images of the film is the clash-of-cultures shot of a glistening new skyscraper rising above the squalid slums of Mexico City.
The story concerns a gang of juvenile delinquents, whose sole redeeming quality is their apparent devotion to one another. Part of the film's perverse fascination is watching Buñuel's street punks cause misery to those less fortunate.
The audience immediately identifies with Pedro (Alfonso Mejía), the youngest gang member, who evinces a spark of decency; yet Pedro, like the others, remains a victim of circumstances far beyond his control. Throughout, Buñuel maintains an objective tone; it is our responsibility, not his, to judge the gang members.
Seasoned with haunting dream sequences, Los Olvidados was the opening volley in what would turn out to be Buñuel's most creative period.