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"Little Ashes" avoids the burn - CinemaDave

May. 17th, 2009 06:49 am "Little Ashes" avoids the burn

When Cinema Dave taught middle school 12 years ago, he could silence the classroom by revealing a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio to my 12 year old female students. If he were teaching middle school today and he needed to perform the same trick, he would use a picture of Robert Pattinson, an actor from **Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire** and **Twilight,** the first film of Stephanie Meyer Vampire trilogy. Going against his romantic stereotype, Pattinson is now undertaking the flamboyant role of Salvador Dali, an artist was kicked out of the surrealism movement because he broke the rules of surrealism.

**Little Ashes** is a film that focuses on the formative years of young university students growing up during a rise of Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Fascist Spain. Besides Dali, the formative years of filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty) and poet Federico Garcia Lorca ( Javier Beltran) are dramatized. While two of the three artists lived a long life and were canonized by college university film professors, one artist did not survive the encroaching evil to soon smother Europe in the guise of World War II.
Director Robert Morrison does a fine job revealing the iconic Dali, Lorca and Bunuel as a bunch of callow college kids in search of the undiscovered country. Yet Morrison assumes that the viewer knows much more about his subjects in the way that modern ticket buyers know about Madonna or Miley Cyrus.
When the Dali-Bunuel cinema collaboration, **The Andalusian Dog/Un Chien Andalou**) is seen in all of it's shocking glory, it is a jolting moment for surrealism virgins. As it was eighty years ago this June, this one grotesque scene of mutilation is a show stopper that lessens the impact of the **Little Ashes** conclusion.
For ticket buyers who are not impressed with titles like **Terminator Salvation** or **Night at the Museum 2 Battle at the Smithsonian,** **Little Ashes** will provide an alternative choice.
Another alternative choice would be the Delray Beach Film Festival currently underway. This young festival features independent films with a variety of subject matters; war (Paul Consentino's **Baghdad Diaries**),women's studies (Fay Ann Lee's **Falling for Grace**) and psychology (Dr. Maryanne Galvin's **Interrogate This.**) Reliable character actor and South Florida favorite, Robert Davi – will be the recipient of the Stella Artrois Life Achievement Award.
Lest we forget, PBS will broadcast the **National Memorial Day Concert** this Sunday night. While the modern Salvador Dalis of the world mock the military culture, it brave men and women of the American Military that defend the free speech for all of Salvador Dalis in the world. Happy Memorial Day.

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