Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2005


The article presents a study on the documentary film "Los olvidados," by Louis Buñuel. The study is concerned with the elements in the film itself that align it with documentary practice. At the same time it gives equal weight to the presentation of the film and to contemporary reviews in the press. These elements stressed the film's serious social purpose and thereby reinforced an interpretation of the work as nonfiction. The author informs that this study is not concerned with any final classification of the film. It is concerned with an examination of those elements that make this documentary reading fruitful. The study is providing a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the work and its context. For the director the surrealist elements of mystery are essential if a film is to convey a sense of reality. His interest in documentary persisted throughout his long career, but it often surfaced in unexpected ways. His films; even the most playful; are grounded in a concrete economic, social, and historical reality.

Journal Name

Journal of Film and Video


From Journal of Film and Video. Copyright 2005 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Used with permission of the University of Illinois Press. This article may not be reproduced, posted online, photocopied, or distributed by any means without written permission of the copyright holder.