Óscar Dancigers, the producer, asked Buñuel to direct this film after the success of the 1949 film El Gran Calavera. Buñuel already had a script ready titled ¡Mi huerfanito jefe! about a boy who sells lottery tickets. However, Dancigers had in mind a more realistic and serious depiction of children in poverty in Mexico City.
After conducting some research, Jesús Camacho and Buñuel came up with a script that Dancigers was pleased with. The film can be seen in the tradition of social realism, although it also contains elements of surrealism present in much of Buñuel’s work.
It earned the Best Director award at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival.
- Ariel Awards: Golden Ariel: Luis Buñuel; Silver Ariel – Best Child Actor/Actress : Alfonso Mejía; Best Cinematography: Gabriel Figueroa; Best Direction: Luis Buñuel; Best Editing: Carlos Savage; Best Original Story: Luis Alcoriza and Luis Buñuel; Best Production Design: Edward Fitzgerald; Best Screenplay: Luis Alcoriza and Luis Buñuel; Best Sound: José B. Carles; Best Supporting Actress: Estela Inda; Best Young Actor/Actress: Roberto Cobo
- Cannes Film Festival: Best Director: Luis Buñuel
Directed by: Luis Buñuel
Produced by: Óscar Dancigers
Written by: Luis Alcoriza and Luis Buñuel
Cast: Alfonso Mejía, Estela Inda, Miguel Inclán, Roberto Cobo, Alma Delia Fuentes, Francisco Jambrina, Jesús Navarro …
Music by: Rodolfo Halffter and Gustavo Pittaluga
Cinematography: Gabriel Figueroa
Editing by: Carlos Savage
Release date: December 9, 1950 (Mexico)
Running time: 80 min.
Amazon’s Customers Reviews
In the World of the Young and Damned
The story of troubled youth and urban violence has been told many times, but this is, perhaps, the best film on the subject ever made. This is an unblinking look at the hell on earth that looks like slums of Mexico City. It is also a masterful combination of gritty realism and Buñuel’s surrealism like in the scene of young Pedro’s dream of Virgin Mary with a face of his mother whose love he desperately needs but never knows.
All the characters, including a young boy caught up in a criminal world but trying to be good, his tired mother who does not have time to love her children, the brutal and cruel gang leader with his own story that breaks your heart are not just wonderfully written and acted, they are absolutely real and would stay with you long after the film is over. Shocking, erotic, and sad, this is a masterpiece – the perfect film from the beginning until the harrowing and devastating end.
Great movie, finally on dvd
this wasn’t available on dvd for a really long time, good to see it finally is. it should be noted that this was released in 1950, not 1959 as the amazon description states. will comment on the quality of the picture when i get the disc in hand.
This is one of Buñuel’s best films, and one of the most unusual because of its “realistic” characteristics. Its impact remains intact after decades, the images potent, and there are gems to be discovered every time one sees it. Try to count how many times roosters, chickens, and even baby chicks appear in the film, for instance, and why. Or how many visual echoes there are (repetition of particular frames, for instance). The dream sequence is still as searingly beautiful as when I first saw it (gapingly, at age 16!). Not to be missed.