Ask the Dust - the Movie

Starring: Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek; Director: Robert Towne

The movie

Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) directs this outcasts tale of desire in the desert co-starring Donald Sutherland.
Running Time 116 Mins.
Colin Farrell is Arturo Bandini a young would-be writer who comes to Depression-era Los Angeles to make a name for himself. While there he meets beautiful barmaid Camilla (Salma Hayek) a Mexican immigrant who hopes for a better life by marrying a wealthy American. Both are trying to escape the stigma of their ethnicity in blue-blood California.

"Adapted from the 1939 novel by John Fante, Ask the Dust represents a 30-year labor of love for Robert Towne, the Oscar®-winning screenwriter of Chinatown. It's a tenacious, hard-scrabble valentine to Towne's beloved city, to the lonely craft of writing, and to elusive love.

Fante's literary hero, struggling writer Arturo Bandini (played by Colin Farrell), as he arrives in L.A. circa 1932, sells occasional stories to American Mercury editor H.L. Mencken, lives in the Alta Loma hotel in the dusty neighborhood of Bunker Hill (where a fellow resident is played by Donald Sutherland), and falls into a stormy relationship with Camilla (Salma Hayek), a Mexican waitress who shares Bandini's immigrant dreams for a better life in California.

Towne has done a perfect job of capturing a combination of hope, depression, and artistic ambition, working in collaboration with cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (The Black Stallion) on authentic Depression-era sets built on location in South Africa. Even the most memorable scenes carry the feelings of broken dreams."

by Jeff Shannon

"There are two scenes in this film that brought me to tears, the first being Arturo's encounter with the Vera (Idina Menzel). It was the first scene in the film where I was brought to the realization that this movie had a meaning, and from that heart-wrenching scene on I was absorbed in this picture. Her story is beautiful and touching, and the look on Arturo's face perfectly captures the essence of what we should be feeling at that very moment.

The second scene is the love scene between Arturo and Camilla, which takes place towards the end of the film. It was so tastefully done, so beautiful and serene that it took all the tension between them out of the picture and delivered a touching and beautiful encounter that said more than words could ever do."

by Damian Gunn