Little Ashes
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Little Ashes can be found here.

The movie follows the friendship of three 20th century artists—Salvador Dal (Robert Pattinson), Luis Buuel (Matthew McNulty), and Frederico Garca Lorca (Javier Beltrán)—from 1922 when they meet at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, Spain, to Garca Lorca's death in 1936.

Salvador Dali [1904-1989] was a Spanish artist known for his eccentricity and his surrealistic paintings. Dal produced over 1,500 paintings in his lifetime. The majority of his works are displayed at the Dal Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain (where Dal was born), and the Dal Museum in St Petersburg, Florida.

Frederico Garcia Lorca [1898-1936] was a Spanish writer, best known for his poetry and plays.

Luis Buuel [1900-1983] was a Spanish film director known for his surreal imagery.

The title is taken from Salvador Dal's 1927-1928 painting Cenicitas (Little Ashes).

Before the movie begins, there is an opening caption that reads:

Remember me when you are at the beach and above all when you paint crackling things and little ashes. Oh my little ashes! Put my name in the picture so that my name will serve for something in the world.
This is a translation of a letter written by Garca Lorca to Salvador Dal in July 1927. The entire letter and others can be found in Sebastian's Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dal and Federico Garca Lorca (2005), edited by Christopher Maurer.

Dal's mustache is described in Dali and I: The Surreal Story (2008) by Stan Lauryssens as being achieved with the use of hair extensions mounted on straws for easy removal and reapplication. Lauryssens also relates an anecdote whereby Beatle George Harrison asked Dal's wife Gala to purchase a hair from Dal's mustache, and she simply plucked a hair out of the extension and charged him 300,000.

Those who have seen the movie and are familiar with the lives of Salvador Dal, Luis Buuel, and Frederico Garca Lorca maintain that the historical details are accurate. For example, the three of them did meet at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, Dal did get himself kicked out of school, Dal and Garca Lorca did travel to Cadaques together, Buuel was homophobic and engaged in gay-bashing, Garca Lorca was homosexual, Gala (Arly Jover) was married to another man when she met Dal, and Garca Lorca was indeed executed by the National Front at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. What is questionable, if not downright controversial, is the extent of the relationship between Dal and Garca Lorca (in a 1969 Conversation with Alain Bosquet , Dal denied being homosexual, however their letters to one another suggest their physical relationship to have been more than to what Dal admitted). Other questionable incidents are whether Garca Lorca's execution was carried out for political reasons or because of his sexual orientation, the manner of his execution, and how Dal reacted after hearing of his death. Some parts of the movie are purely contrived by the film-makers. Magdalena (Marina Gatell), for example, is a composite of two women, neither of whom seem to have had anything to do with Garca Lorca coming to terms with his homosexuality. There was no radio announcement pronouncing Garca Lorca's death, and the people assembled in the ending scenes were not all together in a bar to conveniently hear about it and toast his memory. There is no diary known to have been kept by Garca Lorca, so Buuel couldn't have found out about his relationship with Dal by reading his diary. Other details are factually true but fictionalized for the movie, such as the scene where Dal watches while Garca Lorca has sex with Magdalena or the scene where Buuel beats up a gay man.

Garca Lorca and two other men are led out into a field and shot by a firing squad. When it becomes apparent that Garca Lorca is still alive, another shot rings out and a voice can be heard saying, "Only one way to kill a queer." As the announcement of Garca Lorca's death is broadcast over the radio, Dal is working on a painting, while some other friends are gathered in a bar. Magdalena breaks down in tears, and Dal destroys his canvas with black paint. As Dal wallows in black paint, Garca Lorca's friends in the bar drink a toast to his memory. A flashback shows Garca Lorca and Dal frolicking in the water together during their earlier days. Gala knocks on Dal's studio door and calls out, "Salvador, the guests are here." "J'arrive! [I'm coming!]", he replies, puts on a black cape, and goes out to meet them with his face still smeared with black paint. This is followed by a caption that says,

For years after Garca Lorca's death, Dal shrouded their relationship in mystery. Only towards the end of his life did he open up about his friendships from student days, especially his connection with Garca Lorca. Such memories inspired this film.
Garca Lorca can then be heard whispering, "Dry land, quiet land of immense night...Wind in the olive grove...wind in the sierra," while grasses wave in a field.

Biographies and other books about Salvador Dal that have been mentioned include the following: (1) The Shameful Life of Salvador Dal (1998) by Ian Gibson, (2) The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dali (1995) by Meredith Etherington-Smith, (3) Dali and I: The Surreal Story (2008) by Stan Lauryssens, (5) Conversations with Dali (1969) by Alain Bosquet, (6) Sebastian's Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dali and Federico Garcia Lorca (2005), ed: Christopher Maurer, and (7) The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (1993) by Salvador Dali (autobiography). Ian Gibson has also written a biography for Garca Lorca entitled Frederico Garca Lorca - A Life (1997), and rumor has it that he is working on a biography for Luis Buuel. Also recommended is Leslie Stainton's Lorca: A Dream of Life (1999).


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