A Sad Flower in the Sand

  • literature

A Sad Flower in the Sand takes us on a road trip through John Fante's Los Angeles that brings to life his masterpiece, 'Ask the dust'. A documentary tour of Fante's city, where dreams form a part of reality.

American novelist John Fante speaks to us in words that are direct and timeless. His straightforward descriptions of life in Los Angeles deeply impressed Charles Bukowski and have won over subsequent generations of readers. A Sad Flower in the Sand (2001) is a documentary based on John Fante's masterpiece Ask the Dust, which illustrates Fante's deep-rooted love of the city of Los Angeles. It is a film about a dream and about a city of dreamers.

Ask the Dust never ceases to inspire its readers. Arturo Bandini, the protagonist, lives a life close to that of Fante himself. He is a penniless but passionate writer living in a hotel room on Bunker Hill and determined to become famous. Fante's prose is charged with energy but unadorned, expressing faith in dreams and love.

The documentary brings to life the Los Angeles of Ask the Dust, and also shows a city that has changed. Fante was shocked when he visited Bunker Hill with his son at the beginning of the seventies. The expressions on people's faces upset him and he remarked: 'It seems as though the people have lost their dreams'. A sad flower in the sand unfolds as a road trip through Fante's Los Angeles which unravels the dreams, hopes and deceptions of which the town is made.

Written and directed by Jan Louter.

In co-production with VPRO Television, with support from the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Production Promotion Fund