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Ask the Dust is a 2006 American-German romantic drama film based on the book Ask the Dust by John Fante. The film was written and directed by Robert Towne. Tom Cruise (with Paula Wagner and Cruise/Wagner Productions) served as one of the film's producers. The film was released on a limited basis on March 17, 2006, and was entered into the 28th Moscow International Film Festival. It was filmed almost entirely in South Africa with the use of stages to portray Los Angeles.

Plot

The story is set during the Great Depression, specifically around the time of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Camilla (Salma Hayek) is a fiery, beautiful Mexican café waitress who aspires one day to be above her current standing in society, to make something of herself, to give her and her future children a place and chance in the world. Arturo (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer who comes to Los Angeles's Bunker Hill area to start his writing career. Though he falls in love with Camilla, he does not marry her. Later, Camilla is infected by tuberculosis and leaves Arturo without informing him. When Arturo finds her, she is about to die and he promises to marry her, but Camilla dies and Arturo writes a novel dedicated to Camilla. Arturo writes a dedication in one of his books to her and throws it into the sand.