Little Ashes

This artistic little endeavor seems to emulate the writing style of Federico Garcia Lorca, the Spanish martyr/poet/playwright, with lingering artistic shots of waving foliage, drops of rain, flowering plants, etc., etc... The story itself explores the young adult lives of Señor Lorca (June, 1898 - August, 1936), eccentric Surrealist artist/playwright Salvador Dali (May, 1904 - January, 1989) and Luis Buñuel (February, 1900 - July, 1983), the Spanish-born father of cinematic Surrealism. The three of them attended a Madrid college together in 1922. This movie is based on interviews with Dali near the end of his life.

We watch the three of them become friends; Lorca, appealingly played by Javier Beltran ("El paso") and Buñuel, capably portrayed by Matthew McNulty ("The Mark of Cain" and LOTS of TV) are already chums when Dali, played by Robert Pattinson ("Twilight"), arrives, insecure but ambitious. All three of them assiduously date women, because homosexuality is illegal in Spain, as it is throughout the Western world at that time, but only Buñuel is actually heterosexual. Of the other two, Dali seems to be bisexual, while Lorca plays (pretty much) for the other team.

We are subjected to numerous scenes of collegiate carousing which seem to be universal, whether in Cambridge or Madrid, and the Seattle audience applauded Dali's outspoken nonconformity. One of the actresses did a splendid job as the woman who was in (unrequited) love with Lorca, and I witnessed more of the history of the Spanish revolution than I really sought; but tragically, this movie didn't "grab" me. Many in the audience found it moving and informative, so I suspect I was in the minority.

It's clear to me that Pattinson is striving to avoid typecasting which could threaten his career due to his more recent starring role in the "tween" vampire franchise (he also appears in the "Harry Potter" series). He plays the eccentric artiste Dali very well, but unfortunately, his early variations of the characteristic Dali'esque moustache look glued on. I know, I know, that's pretty picky...

This screenplay is in English, although Lorca's poems are spoken in Spanish with an English voiceover layered into the soundtrack.