Mexican beauty Camilla hopes to rise above her station by marrying a wealthy American. That is complicated by meeting Arturo Bandini, a first-generation Italian hoping to land a writing career and a blue-eyed blonde on his arm.
Release Year: 2006
Rating: 5.7/10 (5,570 voted)
Critic's Score: 58/100
Stars: Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Donald Sutherland
L.A. in the early 1930's: racism, poverty, and disease color the Bunker Hill neighborhood where Arturo Bandini, a lover of men and beasts alike, has arrived from Colorado to write the great Los Angeles novel. After six months and down to his last nickel, he orders a cup of coffee, served by Camilla Lopez, beautiful, self-possessed, and Mexican. Arturo gets advice, encouragement, and an occasional check from H.L. Mencken, so he keeps writing and he keeps seeing Camilla. But, he's mean to her for no apparent reason, so the relationship sputters. A housekeeper from back East suggests a way out of his jealously and fears. "Camilla Bandini": is it in the cards?
Writers: Robert Towne, John Fante
Red Headed Girl
Harold the Bartender
Japanese Vegetable Man
(as Yoshimura Yasuhiro)
Willie the Dog
Passion and ambition drive two dreamers in 1930s LA. Their love affair is ferocious and hot-blooded as they fight the city and themselves to make their dreams come true.
Release Date: 13 April 2006
Filming Locations: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Opening Weekend: $68,779
(12 March 2006)
(14 May 2006)
Did You Know?
In the early stages of development, Johnny Depp was attached to the project for a year.
Take a look in the mirror.
I don't want to look in the mirror.
I don't blame you.
A welcome return of the film maker who truly understands L.A.
Is Robert Towne L.A.'s Woody Allen? His portraits of the city are
indelible, and one of the chief pleasures of Ask the Dust is the way in
which the depression-era City of Angels becomes a character in the
film. Ask the Dust is haunted by the notion that L.A. is the place
where people come to slowly die in the sunshine and is fascinating as a
piece of "sunny" film noir. It also explores themes of racism,
prejudice and self-esteem and how they manifest themselves in personal
relationships. There's a daring ugliness to the romance that makes the
first third of the film especially compelling. The scene where Arturo
Bandini and Camilla Lopez first meet is pure cinema and one of the more
remarkable bits of mainstream film making I've seen in some time. In
its way, it is as sublime as Brassai's photos of café-society Paris. In
the work print I viewed, Ask the Dust wasn't able to sustain this
opening intensity, but it managed to stay compelling nevertheless.
Perhaps the best compliment I can pay Ask the Dust is that it reminded
me why Chinatown is such a great film (and the comparisons will be
inevitable); while I don't think Ask the Dust is in the same league, it
does herald the welcome return of Robert Towne as an artist who
understands L.A. by instinct, knows how to tap into Hollywood's rich
history, and can deliver a human-scale film with the power to reward
and possibly even change its audience.