Coming to theatres from director Mary Harron and Magnolia Pictures is the tale of one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed artists who lives in DALILAND.
Salvador Dali (Ben Kingsley) lives in a world all his own in the 1970’s. Along with wife Gala (Barbara Sukowa), he makes his art while Gala tries to keep their financial head above water. Coming to be a part of Dali’s world is the young James (Christopher Briney), who becomes his assistant while James also tries to break into the art world.
Attempting to help Dali create art and prepare for a new gallery show, James discovers that the world he wants to become part of is filled with pitfalls. Assisting Dali, he become aware that the artist is one way in public and another in private but both are disjointed and have history.
Yet, James wants to protect Dali from anyone or anything that gets in the way of his being able to create more astounding art. When the relationship between Dali and Gala call into question loyalty, James begins to understand what he has become involved in.
Art is not always a beautiful thing.
Kingsley as Dali puts in every bit of his ability as a wonderful actor into this character. He shows us the intricate, complicated and traumatic relationship with wife Gala. She is his reason for basically living and Kingsley shows that from each up and down the film shows. It is clear that Dali was a complex man but also seething with insecurities, issues and the inability to see the inappropriateness in the treatment of those around him.
Sukowa as Gala is a woman who, on the outside, seems quite removed from Dali’s antics. As the story digs deeper, there is so much more to her. Keeping Dali where he needs to be requires emotional acrobatics that Sukowa makes look effortless. Even when Gala has had just about enough, she is never loud, just sure of what needs to be done and how to make that happen.
Briney as Christopher is about to get a life lesson and crash course in dealing with people in general but mainly a maladjusted artist. In awe that Dali would make him an assistant, he quickly realizes that it is not all he thought it would be. Loving the art is one thing, loving the artist is another and loving when those two things clash is what Briney must reconcile.
Other cast include Avital Lvova as young Gala, Rupert Graves as Captain Moore, Alexander Beyer as Christoffe, Andreja Pejic as Amanda Lear, Mark McKenna as Alex Cooper, Zachary Nachbar-Seckel as Jeff Fenhold, Joella Hinson-King as Donyale Luna, Merce Ribot as Rosa, Jack Shalloo as Demond Carter, Gavin Spokes as Gilbert Hamond and Suki Waterhouse as Ginesta.
Magnolia Pictures is responsible for such releases as SLAY THE DRAGON, JOHN LEWIS: Good Trouble, the crime thriller THE WHISTLERS, documentaries such as THE PIECES I AM and films such as the directorial debut of Italian filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.magpictures.com.
The film had its world premiere in September of 2022 at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. It has been nominated by The Golden Linden Aware for director Mary Harron at the Golden Linden International Film Festival.
DALILAND is an interesting and thoughtful look at the life of a man who clearly could not be left to his own devices, even his art was under watchful eyes. Dealing with a magazine rack full of issues, Kingsley navigates through them with the skill of a master painter – oh wait, he is! The emotional roller coaster had me dizzy which probably best describes Dali’s life.
The filming is actually quite wonderful as director Harron captures the constant free-falls of Dali’s life. As a film about art and an artist, the colors of the film are vibrant and sullen at the same time which is also characteristic of the lives in the film. What the story does is consistently leave the viewer guessing as to what is going to happen next.
The ending is absolutely jaw droppingly sad yet, there is a space in the brain that says there was no place else the story of Salvador Dali could go.
In the end – he is Dali!