Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little Ashes

Little AshesI know who Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalì and Luis Buñuel are and I know very little about their lives -saw only one of them in the flesh (an unforgettable experience in Barcelona)- but definitively know more about their writings, paintings and films respectively. So, knew very little about García Lorca’s homosexuality, Buñuel homofobia and Dalì’s probable affair with García Lorca. My first reaction to the story in this film was surprise and I even asked myself, is this truth? After reading a little in the net, seems that most of what the story shows is true. So you can say that is a biopic inspired in some true events and other events that could be true.

The film should have a name like The Tormented Love Affair between Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalì as basically that’s what this movie is all about. Luis Buñuel is the third character but his presence in this story is only a reference to truth, in the sense that they were friends and met at the Residencia Estudiantil (students hostel) in the 20’s Madrid. Unfortunately after the Cadaqués moment the story and movie become really tormenting for the characters and for viewers, as starts to move in fragments with broken transitions in the storytelling breaking the flawless flow of the beginning.

Perhaps the director, Paul Morrison, got too much inspiration from Dalì (tried with no success to be surrealistic with his images) but what could have been a very interesting film because of the story became a little nightmarish after a while. Most annoying is the decision of using English with an awful accent (if they wanted to use English, actors should speak “normal” English) and the worst is García Lorca reading or reciting his works in Spanish while an English translation happens at the same time. Truly awful.

But not everything is bad in this movie as I really enjoyed the attention given to details and the great representation of the period with sets and costumes. I also have to admit that Robert Pattinson can act, as his Dalì interpretation has very good moments, especially when Dalì becomes the famous extravagant character that he really was and Pattinson in a few scenes really started to look like him. Javier Beltrán is also quite good playing a man that totally falls in love with another man for the first time.

If I see the movie as only about the love affair between García Lorca and Dalì I have to say that I like the film a lot; but having Buñuel doing nothing, inserting too many useless (to the affair) historic references and the awful use of the English language makes me think that the value of this film is only in the love story of two men that could have been not famous and probably the movie as a whole would have worked better.

I like some of the oeuvre of García Lorca; I really like many of the Dalì’s paintings (used to own one), and definitively believe that Luis Buñuel is a master filmmaker. Their real lives have to be very interesting but from this film you can hardly tell.

Now that I finished outpouring my disappointment about the historic content of this film, I’ll probably surprise some, but I will recommend this film to many that read this blog. Yes, I recommend it as an interesting story about the tormented love affair between two men, that's only if you can sustain the "torment" part.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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