Synopsis: A romantic story about the young life and loves of artist Salvador Dali, filmmaker Luis Bunuel and writer Federico Garcia Lorca. In 1922, Madrid is wavering on the edge of change as traditional values are challenged by the dangerous new influences of Jazz, Freud and the avant-garde. Salvador Dali arrives at the university, 18 years old and determined to become a great artist. His bizarre blend of shyness and rampant exhibitionism attracts the attention of two of the university's social elite - Federico Garcia Lorca and Luis Bunuel. Salvador is absorbed into their decadent group and for a time Salvador, Luis and Federico become a formidable trio, the most ultra-modern group in Madrid. However as time passes, Salvador feels an increasingly strong pull towards the charismatic Federico - who is himself oblivious of the attentions he is getting from his beautiful writer friend, Margarita. Finally, in the face of his friends' preoccupations - and Federico's growing renown as a poet - Luis sets off for Paris in search of his own artistic success. Federico and Salvador spend the holiday in the sea-side town of Cadaques. Both the idyllic surroundings and the warmth of the Dali family sweep Federico off his feet. Salvador and he draw closer, sharing their deepest beliefs, inspirations and secrets, convinced that they have found a kind of friendship undreamt of by others. It is more that a meeting of the minds; it is a fusion of souls. And then one night, in the phosphorescent water, it becomes something else. [Synopsis courtesy of Regent Releasing]
Round-up: Robert Ebert is pretty much the only major reviewer that truly enjoyed Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca biopic "Little Ashes," and that remains with reservations. "Little Ashes" is absorbing but not compelling," Ebert says. "Most of its action is inward." He ends his review by applauding the film's eroticism, though: "Although a few gay Web sites complain "Little Ashes" doesn't deliver the goods, I find it far more intriguing to find how repressed sexuality express itself, because the bolder sort comes out in the usual ways and reduces mystery to bodily fluids. Orgasms are at their best when still making big promises, don't you find?" The Onion's Scott Tobias' a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/little-ashes,27708/" TARGET="_blank">wouldn't. "The film’s biggest problem," he writes, "beyond the overheated melodrama and paper-thin period trappings, is that the trio’s fictionalized dalliances diminish their real art." A.O. Scott doesn't get down to that nitty-gritty in his New York Times review, but makes clear he's not a fan: "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." The Village Voice's Melissa Anderson a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-05-06/film/little-ashes-is-pattinson-s-attempt-to-expand-past-twilight-fan-base/" TARGET="_blank">places some of the blame on Robert Pattinson, who stars as Dali: "[Pattinson] has difficulty conveying cracked genius, at one point seeming to mimic Jame Gumb's prance in front of the mirror in The Silence of the Lambs until settling on just bugging his eyes out."