In the 1970s, the aging Dalí couple holds court in a New York hotel and makes tons of money with their glamorous lifestyle. Young James, Dalí‘s assistant, is meant to ensure that the painter makes enough paintings for a planned exhibition.
Mary Harron (I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, AMERICAN PSYCHO) has made a film about the life of Salvador Dalí (Ben Kingsley) and his wife Gala (Barbara Sukowa) in the 1970s, when the two of them held court in a New York hotel and and Dalí was more of a TV star than an artist. It‘s about the contrast between glamor and aging. Dalí‘s closeness to the Franco regime, which reached its height in the 1970s with his equestrian portrait of Franco's granddaughter and the regime's support of executions, does not feature here. The protagonist is the young, handsome James (Cristopher Briney), who works for a gallery and is meant to be Dalí‘s assistant and ensure that the painter has produced enough work for a planned exhibit. Instead, he gets involved in the party life of the Dalí couple. Wild orgies, which Salvador and Gala preside over, end with nude young bodies hanging around the floor and furniture. In order to afford this life, the couple needs tons of money, especially since Gala Dalí is financing the music project of her lover Jeff Henholt, the Broadway actor of “Jesus Christ Superstar.“ Their old bodies need to be expensively restored before they can present themselves to the public. Sukowa blows everyone out of the water – with the same verve as 40 years ago in Fassbinder‘s LOLA – including Ben Kingsley, whose Dalí keeps regressing and who can only be rescued by Gala. She turns the relationship between Gala and Jeff into a desperate tragedy. As a film about the calamitous loss of beauty in old age, DALILAND is successful. As a biography of complex and problematic well-known personalities, less so.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
Original title: Daliland
USA/Großbritannien 2022, 104 min
Genre: Drama, Biography
Director: Mary Harron
Author: John C. Walsh
DOP: Marcel Zyskind
Montage: Alex Mackie
Music: Edmund Butt
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Barbara Sukowa, Ezra Miller, Christopher Briney, Rupert Graves, Suki Waterhouse
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
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