Ben Kingsley is Salvador Dalí in 'Dalíland' (TIFF review)
Ben Kingsley is Dali in his later years, as told by one of his many male assistants in the offbeat 'Dalíland'.
Salvador Dalí is a name that might be mentioned with the greats like Picasso. But in his later years, in the 1970s, his glory days were long over. Partying in his New York hotel suite, people around him had to pressure him to create new work. Only to generate money. All the while his longtime lover Gala was more interested in being with the Jesus Christ Superstar-star Jeff Fenton.
We follow James as he gets in contact with Dalí through his job as a gallery assistant. Soon after meeting him, Dalí tells his boss he will be Salvador Dali's new assistant until his upcoming New York exhibition is opened.
Before James knows it he's transformed into the world of Dalí. One of extravagant parties, complex (sexual) relations and the occasional anecdote of Dalí's unusual life.
While it actually isn't 'Dalíland' feels like it's based on a book, and it's quite a factual retelling of what happened to James. One that's highly focused on a small part of the artist's life and very much the view of an outsider.
The strong performances of the cast can't help the flimsy story of this film however. While interesting to take a peek into Salvador Dalí's later life, it feels like we drop in on the end when the most interesting parts have already happened.
The handful of flashbacks to his earlier years, with Ezra Miller as the young Dalí, can't overcome this obstacle. And we're left with only a mildly fulfilling mini-biopic, which only scratches the surface of the life of one of the greatest artists of the last century.
'Dalíland' had its world premiere at #TIFF22