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Mexico, 1960 (MIFF 1961, Programme 16)

Director: Luis Buñuel

Bunuel used an island off the coast of one of the southern states to make this film about a Negro on the run - a story of innocence and corruption.

The film's simple plot transcends its one locale and five characters, to emerge as a human tale of people in a crisis. Scott is a game-warden on the island and lives alone with a thirteen-year-old girl, whose grandfather - his handyman - has just died. When the story begins a Negro lands on the island, fleeing from the mainland where he has been accused of rape of a white woman.

Its incisive, frank treatment of the Negro and the bigotted whites, and the relations between the girl and an older man, are explosive themes. But they are handled with an understanding which makes the film an important human document. The playing (including Scott's) is wooden at times and the dialogue veers between the naturalistic and the stilted. These handicaps detract from the film's effectiveness. Yet the straight forward presentation, reminiscent of Bunuel's other island him, Robinson Crusoe, the translucence of the style, the absolute denial of effect, give The Young One the forcefulnessof a parable. . ."No one else would dare to be so unassuming: no one else could make 'art' seem so unnecessary."

The Young One was awarded a Special Prize for direction at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.

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