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.
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?Written by
The book is great, the movie is not. Only the beginning is done well. However, I was fairly impressed with Colin Farrell as Arturo Bandini and thought Salma Hayek pulled off a good Camilla. I was also impressed with the depiction of 1930's L.A. I thought that the environment was pulled off quite well. But then about half way through the movie veers away from the book and it becomes a clichéd and sappy love story. The ending is completely changed and loses everything that made the book great. I really am not sure why such a change would be made, this wasn't ever going to be a huge blockbuster film, so why make such a lousy rendition of Fante's work, that is, why try to give it a typical "Hollywood ending?"
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