In “Daaaaaalí!” », the cinematographic inventions of Quentin Dupieux worthy of the surrealist painter

In “Daaaaaalí!” », the cinematographic inventions of Quentin Dupieux worthy of the surrealist painter


Warning: with Daaaaaalí! , we are not dealing here with a biopic. A spectator keen to perfect his knowledge of the life, secret or not, of Salvador Dali (1904-1989) risks serious disappointment, but anyone who would like to penetrate into the head – the heads – of the character should be in heaven. Because everything is false in this film: from Dali being pushed by his wife in his wheelchair (rather the opposite could have happened, the painter still being unresponsive when Gala died in 1982), to at his workshop in Portlligat, Catalonia, which was recreated in the small Spanish village near Llafranc by production designer Joan Le Boru.

However, the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation, extremely picky about the use of the name of its creator, gave its approval to the scenario (its representatives even say they are impatient to see Quentin Dupieux’s film), and they were right , because, even if it’s not true, it’s a damn good idea! Starting with the choice of several actors to play the same character: Dali was so versatile that one almost wonders if five actors are enough to show all the facets of this brilliant histrionics.

We see little or no paintings by the master, except one fake, made by the village priest, and another that he painted outdoors with two poor models that he tortured at will… But the scenes themselves- same are the cinematographic equivalent. Like when, during a telephone conversation – there are many and often hilarious – the painter has difficulty hearing his interlocutor because of a hail of dogs, perhaps a nod to the English expression ( but the cats are missing) “It’s raining cats and dogs! » Indeed, we see a pack of these poor animals falling noisily, en masse, on the other side of the window. This bias is an elegant and subtle way for the director to take up another challenge, that of Dali filmmaker: Quentin Dupieux was not only confronted with the dreamlike world of the Catalan’s paintings, but also with two pieces of bravery which were produced with Luis Buñuel, An Andalusian Dog (1929), followed by L’Age d’or (1930), this one largely diverted by Buñuel.

Modern and reactionary

Without forgetting the projects aborted or not in the United States (a failed attempt with the Marx Brothers, a collaboration, in 1945, on The House of Doctor Edwardes , by Alfred Hitchcock, another on Destino , an unfinished short film for Walt Disney, finally released in 2003) and half a dozen documentaries featuring him, more or less zany, depending on whether they were authored by Philippe Halsman (which allows Dali to pass for a pioneer of video art), Jack Bond, Andy Warhol or Jean-Christophe Averty. With a special mention for his role in advertising for a now famous chocolate…

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