Hell-bent on revenge, the cocky reform-school runaway, El Jaibo, returns to his old neighbourhood in post-World-War-II Mexico City's poor and squalid slums, to reunite with his faithful gang of juvenile delinquents and street urchins. However, as the dangerous ringleader lives and breathes retribution, his destructive obsession to find the informant who supposedly sent him to jail will intricately interweave his bitter fate with that of Pedro, his weak and unwitting accessory, in a despicable act of pure evil. In the end, are humans inherently good or bad--and above all--is immorality contingent with society?Written by
UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to prevent collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination. This film and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) were the first two movies (and in 2004, the only ones) recognized in this special way. See more »
In a shot of Pedro's corpse, the victim can clearly be seen breathing. See more »
[addressing his mother, just before she leaves him at the Farm School]
Just now you remember that I'm your son.
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SPOILER: In the director's cut, Pedro is stabbed to death by Jaibo, and Meche and her grandfather dump his body outside the town. The blind man denounces Jaibo to the police, who shoot Jaibo when fleeing arrest. Pedro's mother is left alone alone, in despair. A shorter "happy" ending, never used by the director, was filmed probably to accommodate censorship authorities or the sensibilities of the distributors: Jaibo dies in an accidental fall when he's fighting Pedro, who retrieves the stolen banknote from him. Pedro has a short conversation with Ojitos, and then returns to the reformatory farm-school (to a loud musical crescendo). See more »
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 back in 1950s. It is also a masterful combination of gritty realism and Buñuel's surrealism (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.
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