In 1922, 18-year old Salvador Dalí (Robert Pattinson, star of Twilight) begins his university studies in Madrid. Already he knows he is destined to be a famous artist and.
He becomes friendly with a small group of budding intellectuals, including the poet Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and aspiring filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty). Together they form the nucleus of the most modern group in Madrid.
Their private lives become increasingly complex as Lorca ignores the advances of devoted friend and writer Magdalena (Marina Gatell), and Dali himself feels the pull of the poet’s magnetism.
The friendship between the three friends gets complicated. Bunuel moves to Paris to work in film while Lorca and Dali develop a close friendship, which becomes sexual when they spend the summer at the seaside village of Cadaques, the home of Dalí's family.
Dalí finds Lorca's obsession with him more than he is prepared to handle and moves to Paris. Consumed by the high society and decadence, Dalí is soon entangled with Gala (Arly Jover), a married woman with a penchant for celebrities.
When Dali moves to Paris, he works with Bunuel on the film Un Chien andalou (1928). Sequences from the original film are included in Little Ashes. In his selection of events from the life of Dali and Bunuel, director Paul Morrison shows Un Chien andalou is not just an eccentric surreal film but rather one that draws on the life and politics of the two men.
The film manages to convey the spirit of the times and also the way in which the three men are affected by and influence social and artistic change.