Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Lorca and Dali, in Love and Art

So my partner and I have similar tastes in movies, but varying degrees of tolerance for actually staying awake. You guess who falls asleep more often.

Last night, we rented Little Ashes, a little indie film made a couple years ago about the romance between the great poet Federico Garcia Lorca and surrealist Salvador Dali. Who would have imagined the two artists had ever been involved–Lorca with his formal, classical poetry, and Dali with his idiosyncratic persona and, in his paintings, the wild pull toward the subconscious?

Beltran and Pattinson in "Little Ashes"; a photograph of Dali and Lorca

What strikes me after watching Little Ashes (I barely managed to stay awake, my eyelids drooping about three-quarters of the way through, when Robert Pattinson–who plays Dali–has found success in Paris and attempts to recapture their adolescent love) is the intensity and believability of the young actors. Pattinson, of course, can’t be watched without the context of his fame in the Twilight films; the handsome actor Javier Beltran, who plays Federico Garcia Lorca, draws us in with the way he silently adores Pattinson from across a white linen table or beside him in a study lounge where Dali sketches his forms.

A still from the shocking, iconic opening of Bunuel's "Un Chien Andalou"

There’s yet another young actor in the film, Matthew McNulty, who completes the trio of Spanish powerhouses. McNulty portrays Luis Bunuel, a kind of counterpoint to the couple, and a catalyst in the old trope of “boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy, boy-finds-boy-again” (or does he?). As with the other young actors, McNulty seems self-assured in his role as the iconic filmmaker whose image of a knife across the surface of an eye still makes me gasp.

Great little film. Reminded me of Total Eclipse, and the similar tale of a young actor named Leonardo DiCaprio who was interested in playing quality roles like Rimbaud yet falling into the trappings of fame for his work in Titanic. Hopefully, Pattinson will find a way to balance the indie films, the interesting curio boxes, with the obvious, yet vacuous, rewards of Hollywood blockbusters.

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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