Dedicated to the children of the streets of Mexico City, Luis Buñuel's film Los Olvidados claims to be completely non-fiction. It won him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival the year it was released.
Los Olvidados is the story of Jaibo, a recent reform school escapee, and his effects on his younger friend Pedro, as well as a recently abandoned farm boy known only as Ochitos (literally "little eyes", the nickname is translated as "big eyes" in the film's English subtitles) taken in by the blind singer Carmelo, a creepy old man who identifies a bit too strongly with the dictator Porfirio Diaz and "the good old days" for anybody's liking.
Plot Synopsis: Jaibo kills his former friend Julien for turning him in to the authorities, and blackmails Pedro into keeping quiet about it. He has learned to be an even better criminal in jail, and soon organizes their gang of young petty thieves into a wolfpack that preys on the old, weak, and disabled. Still feeling guilty, Pedro finds work as a knife sharpener's assistant, only to lose that job when Jaibo takes advantage of his friend's trust to steal knives. We learn of Pedro's troubled relationship with his mother, who was only 14 when he was born. He runs away from home for a time, only to be sent to a reform school by his mother when he returns home. There, things almost take a turn for the better, except Pedro has one final, fatal run-in with Jaibo, who is later killed by police sent by the blind Carmelo, who starves and abuses Ochitos, but goes unpunished for it.
Los Olvidados contains one of the most striking dream sequences I have ever seen on film. It's full of hunger, love, and voyeurism, all rendered in exquisite symbolism with Buñuel's masterful surrealist touch. And in case you didn't believe this film was by a collaborator of Salvador Dali's, it's full of chickens, which my Third Cinema professor could only guess were a "surrealist joke". The film can be interpreted as a Shakespearean tragedy, with Pedro the hero and his friendship for Jaibo a tragic flaw.