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Sunday, October 9, 2011

ART FILM FEATURE: LITTLE ASHES





MOVIE REVIEW 'LITTLE ASHES'
Madrid Revisited: 3 Paths Meet
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: May 8, 2009

The tangled three-way friendship of Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca — important artistic figures of the 20th century whose paths crossed in Madrid early in their careers — could make for a fascinating movie. Instead, we have “Little Ashes,” directed by Paul Morrison and written by Philippa Goslett, a painfully sincere study in creative passion, sexual ardor and political zeal that embalms a mad and exuberant historical moment within the talky, balky conventions of period-costumed highbrow soap opera.

The film starts off like a Spanish variation on “Brideshead Revisited,” with various handsome young men in beautifully tailored shirts bursting into university dormitory rooms, lighting cigarettes and declaiming knowingly on art, religion, modern society and the talents and deficiencies of their peers. A couple of brightly plumed, semi-emancipated women occasionally take part in the conversations, which the international cast utters in Castilian-accented — or should I say acthented — English.

It is all very heady and earnest and excruciatingly dull. This is shocking, since it is hard to imagine anyone less dull than Dalí, Buñuel and García Lorca. Mr. Morrison works hard to convey the impulses that fed their art, but he seems unable to treat these wildly innovative figures in any but the most literal-minded way. So García Lorca (Javier Beltrán) recites verse in voice-over; Buñuel (Matthew McNulty) delivers potted avant-garde aphorisms; and Dalí (Robert Pattinson), well, he trembles and drinks and says scandalous things in the drawing studio and at dinner parties.

Read full article here.

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