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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva la Revolucion!
Firstly, this movie, like most `historical' or `biographical' movies, puts entertainment first and fact second; it is full of misrepresentations and re-imaginings and can be best enjoyed if you do not approach it expecting a 107 minute history lesson. What it is is a fictionalised, romanticised tale of Salvador Dali and Federico Lorca's turbulent relationship throughout...
Published on 20 July 2009 by Ni

versus
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and ashes
For most of his life, Salvador Dali denied that he had ever been lovers with the tragic poet Federico García Lorca -- until the end of his life.

So, writer Philippa Goslett and director Paul Morrison explore what may have been in "Little Ashes," in which two young men become close friends, more-than-friends, only to have their relationship splinter...
Published on 18 Mar 2010 by E. A Solinas


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva la Revolucion!, 20 July 2009
By 
Ni (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Firstly, this movie, like most `historical' or `biographical' movies, puts entertainment first and fact second; it is full of misrepresentations and re-imaginings and can be best enjoyed if you do not approach it expecting a 107 minute history lesson. What it is is a fictionalised, romanticised tale of Salvador Dali and Federico Lorca's turbulent relationship throughout the 1920s, and this is something which it more than adequately portrays.

Having personally never seen any of these actors in anything before I did not know what to expect, but the acting is great, Javier Beltran and Robert Pattinson in particular are very committed to their characters. Pattinson ably parades a conflicted Dali who hides his fear and vulnerability behind a mask of eccentricity which he only lets slip around Beltran's passionate and sensitive Lorca. Javier is incredible in his role and consequently it is impossible not to be drawn to his depiction of the poet and his own confliction in a world where he is revered for his creativity but forced to hide his sexuality.

With its focus firmly on the unravelling relationship between Dali and Lorca, the movie does unfortunately limit the purpose of Luis Bunuel, and Mathew McNulty who is excellent in the role, to no more than a background character; a catalyst for some inopportune tension. It does somewhat of an injustice to his legacy as a genius filmmaker by only really portraying his brutal, homophobic side.

Though the actors are very believable in their roles, I do generally find it a slight irritation when English is portrayed as the general language of non-English speaking countries; but this is a fairly minor annoyance. I found it questionable however that when Lorca does read his poetry aloud in his native language, a spoken English translation is imposed over the top, obscuring the beauty of Javier's Spanish tongue which the use of subtitles could have avoided.

Also, the ending, which follows an 8 year time jump, in some ways seems a little tacked on. It does however, prove to be a necessary finish to the story, wrapping up Lorca's journey, which seems to be the ultimate focus of the movie, in a fantastically unsatisfying climax, while revisiting Dali sporting a wonderfully fake moustache, in the surreal and superficial world he has since created for himself.

The significant context of political tensions and civil war is amply omnipresent throughout what is quite an emotional and moving story of a desire which can never fully be realised. The musical accompaniment is particularly striking and visually the film is quite stunning; dramatically lit sets, cool 1920s costumes, pretty scenery and pretty boys. It is quirky, funny, beautiful, heart breaking and occasionally a little disturbing. It has its faults but I would suggest these are significantly outweighed by the positives.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and ashes, 18 Mar 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
For most of his life, Salvador Dali denied that he had ever been lovers with the tragic poet Federico García Lorca -- until the end of his life.

So, writer Philippa Goslett and director Paul Morrison explore what may have been in "Little Ashes," in which two young men become close friends, more-than-friends, only to have their relationship splinter apart. It's a powerful little story with astonishing acting by Robert Pattinson and Javier Beltran, but it tends to meander and shake way too much.

In the Madrid of 1922, a shy and awkward art student named Salvador Dali (Pattinson) is drawn into a circle of vibrant, iconoclastic young artists, including filmmaker Luis Buñuel (Matthew McNulty) and poet Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltran). Lorca in particular is intrigued by Dali, who is just discovering his unique melty surrealist style -- and it's not a platonic crush. And though initially he fights against the attraction, a trip to the seaside reveals Lorca's feelings to Dali.

But as their attraction grows, Buñuel feels shut out and tries to pull Dali out of Lorca's orbit -- and after an unsuccessful attempt to consummate their affair, Dali vanishes to Paris without a word. A possibly insulting movie and many years widen the split between them, until Lorca meets Dali, now world famous and in love with the "witch" Gala (Arly Jover). Dali has changed, and so has Spain -- with terrible results.

I know relatively little of either Dali or Lorca's lives, but it seems that "Little Ashes" is less about what happened than about what MIGHT have happened. Unfortunately it also falls prey to a common flaw in biographical movies, even if they're semi-fictionalized accounts -- it meanders randomly much of the time, and has awkward jumps between the different phases in the two men's lives. And what is up with Beltran suddenly reciting poetry in Spanish?

But if it meanders, it's a picturesque meander -- sunny streets of Madrid, shadowy apartments, rocky beaches, weird surrealist visions of Paris, and fun nightclubs where bright young artists congregate. Paul Morrison has a straightforward directorial style with few ups or downs, but there are some beautiful moments sprinkled throughout it -- such as a balletic swim in a moonlit blue sea, or the bittersweet final scenes for Lorca (interspersed with Dali frantically smearing black paint all over).

But this movie would be utterly forgettable if it weren't for the leads. Both are painfully magnificent, both in their chemistry and in their attempts to embody their characters. Beltran is a tragic figure who brims over with passion, sorrow and integrity, and somehow you know that things never end happily for this poor man. Marina Gatell has a small but well-acted role as a young woman passionately in love with Lorca, but obviously she can be nothing more than his friend (and once, a sexual proxy for Dali).

And Pattinson exudes almost Johnny-Depplike skill in almost becoming Dali. This is no glamorous "Twilight" role -- at first Pattinson plays him as a twitchy, painfully awkward and shy young man, but as Dali grows in confidence he also becomes more insistently eccentric and flamboyant, to the point where Lorca no longer recognizes him as a person. Mad laughter, insane grief, and all the time we're never quite sure what he's truly thinking about anything -- except, at the end, about Lorca himself.

"Little Ashes" is a flawed portrait covered in jewel-like paint -- the actors are truly astonishing in their skill, but the direction is a straightforward and spotty affair. And it's all the more tragic because at least some of it is true.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving, 26 May 2009
By 
This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I went to see this movie two days ago and utterly enjoyed it, it was very moving and the acting is superb.
Robert Pattinson's performance is compelling, his portrayal of Salvador Dali is so good, you don't even realise that it's Rob acting..
Javier's Lorca was so moving that I found myself in tears feeling his pain and anguish..in fact all the actors were excellent.
The music was fantastic and is definatley worth buying for the beautiful score.
Go and see it, not just because it's got hot actors but because it's a wonderful movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of three artists as young men, 19 Nov 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although Twilight and hordes of adoring tweenage fans wasn't a done deal when he took the part in Little Ashes, you have to admire Robert Pattinson from trying to break away from the good looking public schoolboy mould British films seemed likely to typecast him in by playing a young Salvador Dali, struggling to 'construct' his own genius and finding himself increasingly drawn towards gay poet Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran). The film may be speculative fiction, but it certainly couldn't be accused of being a safe commercial bet (the film was barely released in the USA even after Twilight's success), so it's a shame the film isn't better. Part of the problem is that it never quite decides what it wants to be about. The relationship with Dali and Lorca does assume centre stage but feels a little neutered at times, as if too many compromises had been made to get funding - there's nothing to frighten the horses here - while the third wheel in their Bohemian artistic triumvirate, film director Luis Buñuel (Matthew McNulty), draws the short straw in terms of characterisation and after a credible start ends up something of a one-note homophobic stereotype.

Just as underdeveloped is the artistic excitement of the era, the ideas that all three men wanted to bring to their work acknowledged but, Lorca's poetry aside, never really incorporated into the emotional drama, at times almost as if it were something separate from them rather than the essential driving force in their lives. Instead, it's reliant on the chemistry of its three leads, and here the relationship is seriously unbalanced by Pattinson's initially awkward performance. Going through various guises as he sheds his initial Emo persona for something more giggly anarchic, you get the impression of someone trying on new personalities and images like clothes rather than struggling to invent his art. No wonder Lorca asks, "Salvador, who are you pretending to be today?" Pattinson is strikingly good as the pop-eyed eccentric egotist desperate to outrage in his final manifestation, but for much of the film while he certainly puts the work in, he's easily outclassed by his co-stars. McNulty makes more of an impact as Bunuel than the script allows, Maria Gatell manages to briefly humanise her marginal role as Lorca's would-be lover but it's Barden in particular who brings a genuine sense of burning passion to his role as the tormented poet.

There are a few missteps - Lorca's arrest is covered by a clumsy montage sequence while it seems pointless keeping the recitations of his poetry in Spanish to preserve the sound and rhythm of the original language only to perversely overdub them with an English translation - and the onset of fascism and Civil War almost seems a side issue that the film feels obliged to include without properly dealing with. For all its problems, Little Ashes is certainly worth a look, but it falls short of what it could have been. Still, the DVD is a good transfer with a generous selection of extras - Javier Beltran and Marina Gatell's auditions, cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes footage and theatrical trailer. Unfortunately it doesn't have subtitles, which would have been helpful with the odd line lost to the accents or mumbling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well done, 3 Nov 2010
By 
S. Irwin (Salamanca, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Perhaps not for everyone, but this film does a very good job of reflecting a very difficult period at the beginning of the civil war in Spain. Homosexuality was obviously unaccepted at that time, but the film is not just about that. Patterson did an excellent job of making Dali believable and even likable despite his eccentricities. And Garcia Lorca, one of the most well-loved poets here in Spain, was also well played. The relationship between the three friends was well drawn, and the film never falls into sentimentality. A friend of mine complained of some difficulty understanding the accent of a few of the characters, but I personally had no problems with that aspect. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Spain, the Spanish civil war period, or just in artists and their relationships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its not terrible, 24 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. F. E. Marioni "fran151278" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Decent historical love story in which Robert Pattison excels and will do his CV no harm at all. Good support and in general a decent enough film, it wont be remembered in 5 years time as it doesn't have much re-watch value. I got this free on the vine programme but if I had to pay for it it would only be if I was a Pattinson fan.
DVD is good quality and there are some ok extras
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more, 15 Oct 2009
By 
Grr "Gumbo" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My Partners review of Little Ashes:

Enjoyable, though unfocused at times and does not seem to have fully developed stories for each character and the story seems to meander without direction for most of the film.

The relationship between Lorca and Magdelana was underdeveloped which led to a lack of sympathy in many ways and the supporting characters were not really used to their full effect (the female characters in particular were left floundering). Bunuel is shown as homophobic and violent, not much else overall - very 2 dimensional.

Acting was for the most part was strong though Robert P's accent was not so great and perhaps at times it felt he was still too young for the role. Sadly he also looked more ridiculous than eccentric with his moustache and range of wigs, and though there is no doubt he gave everything he could to the performance I found it lacking and unsympathetic.

Great central performance by Javier Beltran as Lorca, the backbone of the film as far as I was concerned and where most of my enjoyment in watching came from, truly a performance to be very proud of.

I Felt perhaps the script had much more depth originally but perhaps too much was cut to keep this. It felt shallow and hollow in many ways not the story that I would have liked, though the closing scenes of the film run against this trend in particular the reactions of the group of friends to the news on the radio, very touching.

I Don't know much about the actual lives of Lorca or Dali but inspired me to find out more.

Was an enjoyable watch, but I feel it could have been so much more. With a bit more time and attention it could have been stunning, the art of Dali with the words of Lorca, an opportunity very much missed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, beautiful and well acted, if a little strange, 22 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. Ian Thomas "Swarley" (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed this film more than I expected to, given my lack of awareness of the real historical inspiration for the story. I generally only get excited about biopics if I'm really interested in the subject, so I was worried that I would struggle to make it through to the end. However, I was pleasantly surprised, not least by Robert Pattinson's acting talent. He clearly has a lot more to offer than his best known role as a pretty vampire in the Twilight franchise.

This movie is beautifully shot, which I suppose is very appropriate given the locations and the artistic pursuits of the central character. Even though it felt a little strange that all the actors were speaking English with heavy Spanish accents when it's a Spanish film with a mainly Spanish cast, the accents were very good and it wasn't too jarring. I don't really know why Lorca's poems were always read in Spanish with an English voiceover, but again it seemed to work okay. There was an air of authenticity about the locations and costumes, making it easy to become absorbed in 1920s Spain in the build up to civil war.

Dali starts the film being quite a likeable character, despite being socially awkward and bizarre, but as the film progresses he changes into someone less easy to like. But his talent is undeniable, and the film respects that throughout. Even though the film's themes are quite heavy (repressed homosexuality, civil war and fascism), there was enough humour and romance to balance it out. The ending is quite emotional and makes a lasting impression, even more so because it all really happened.

I would recommend this film to anyone interested in the period or the people, and anyone who wants to see proof that Pattinson is a genuinely fine actor destined for great things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars spreading his wings, 21 Oct 2011
This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I bought this as an early example of Pattinson's work after I had been completely possessed by the Twilight saga; rather later than others, but just as bewitched!

It took a while to get into and follow the story and characters. It was worth the effort and I enjoyed it. Good performances and it showed a different side of all the talents involved.
It's a remarkable effect that Pattinson has on his audience, but I really get to know his characters and care deeply what happens to them. And I like and respect the research that goes into his preparation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars romantically played Lorca and Dali, 3 April 2011
By 
Mr. Robert Marsland (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This film is very Romantically shot and played, about a love affair between the then young Dali and the poet Lorca. There are many beautifully lit scenes and a couple with original visual ideas. The second half of the film is more realistic as things start to fall apart and this for me was what made the film work. Better perhaps than the recent film about Modigliana, which is perhaps in a similar vein. dramatic and enjoyable
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Little Ashes [DVD] [2008]
Little Ashes [DVD] [2008] by Paul Morrison (DVD - 2009)
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