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It's often thought that painters only become famous after they're dead. But many have been standout stars in their lifetime, such as Andy Warhol and Michelangelo. Among the artistic geniuses who became living legends in their day was Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. The eccentric painter and sculptor was born in 1904 in Catalonia and died at the age of 84. In between, he lived a life of art, extravagance, and social commentary in a perpetually changing world. In the upcoming film Dalíland, due out in June, art lovers around the world will be able to experience the chaos of Dalí's later years for themselves, following the artist's ups and downs in New York City in the 1970s.
The film is directed by Mary Harron, who also directed I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho. Harron's insight into Dalí’s world is set in 1974 at the St. Regis Hotel where the artist and his wife Gala would spend their winters at great expense and in lavish, lascivious style. James (played by Christopher Briney), a young gallery worker, becomes enmeshed in this circle, offered a chance to be the artist's assistant for a time. The setting is a fascinating moment in art history, where money, pop culture, and vastly shifting social mores were changing everything.
The film centers on the artist himself. Dalí—complete with mustache—is played by Sir Ben Kingsley, the English actor of Indian and English descent who won an Academy Award for playing Gandhi in 1982. He has also appeared in countless works over a long career and has become a fixture of the Marvel universe, playing Trevor Slattery. In the newly released poster for the film, Kingsley can be seen sporting the artful mustache and devilish gaze that any Dalí-fan knows well. Critics have praised his performance. During flashbacks, a young Dalí is played by Ezra Miller, an actor who has made headlines in recent years for alleged inappropriate behavior and run-ins with law enforcement.
The cast is completed by Barbara Sukowa as Gala, as well as Anreja Pejic, Zachary Nachbar-Seckel, Avital Lvova, Suki Waterhouse, Rupert Graves, and others.
To lose yourself in the complex world of an aging Salvador Dalí, you can watch Dalíland in theaters and streaming starting June 9, 2023, and draw your own conclusions on the film and its protagonist.