Stirring the Mind into Thought

Before I went to the Dali Exhibit, Salvador Dali was already one of my favorite painters. However, I learned so much more about Dali at the exhibit and I appreciate him as an artist so much more now. Not only was Dali a surrealist, but he also had a fascination with film. He believed that films were the extension of the dream world because of the reality versus illusion idea. So, many of his paintings used the film techniques and camera effects. The most interesting information about his life was that he was actually involved in the making of several short films and has had an influence on the filmmaking process. His surrealist ideas have affected many films since his time.

One of his first films was Un Chien Andalou, which he created with Luis Bunuell. Since Dali wrote the script, a lot of his ideas from his paintings were expressed through the film, especially the illusory images using a variety of film techniques. Scenes portraying disappearing mouths, ants appearing in hands, dismembered hands, illusion of nakedness, doors leading into other places and one actor playing to characters at the same time showed the ability of using film to create images that could never happen in real life. One of the most shocking scenes was the opening one in which the husband takes a razor and cuts into his wife’s eye. But it is done using a close-up to create the illusion that it is her eye, but it was actually a cow’s eye.

dali6rgDali also had an influence on other artists and performers, such as Andy Warhol, Alfred Hitchcock, The Marx Brothers and surprisingly even Walt Disney. He believed that Disney was one of the great surrealists. Dali actually worked on a short animated film with Disney in 1945, called Destino, which was not completed until 2003. Destino, which was about a mortal girl falling in love with the god, Kronos, used many of his paintings and drawings, such as the paranoiac-critical (optical illusion style created by Dali) image of Kronos, the melting clocks, the eyes and the ants. Dali also painted scenes for movies, such as the ballroom scene and dream sequence in Hitchcock’s Spellbound with Gregory Peck. The scenes also included some of Dali’s famous symbols, like eyes, twisted landscapes, and faceless figures. The lead character (Peck) also is seeing a psychiatrist, relating to Dali’s obsession with Freud and dreams.

Dali had a great influence on film, greater than I even knew about. His part in the avant-garde movement inspired filmmakers to think outside the box and create images that could only be see in the dream world not real life. Dali believed in pure cinema, which is film without a story, but instead evoking fantasies. Many movies and shows use dream sequences because of Dali. He also influenced independent films, horror films, psychedelic films and music videos, because of their non-traditional ideas in filmmaking. For example, I doubt Missy Elliot would make half the videos that she does now if it wasn’t for people like Dali. Dali definitely believe “Life is like a dream.”

July 8th, 2009 at 12:24 PM and tagged , , ,

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