On August 31, the Dali Museum will screen Emilio Estevez’ 2012 flick “The Way,” critically appraised as “clear-eyed drama,” and you have to wonder what a clear-eyed anything has to do with Surrealism.
To experience Surrealism on celluloid, a better choice would have been Dali’s 1929 film “Un Chien Andalou,” full of an eye razored in half, breasts morphed into buttocks, and donkeys dead on pianos. Unconnected scenes like these also hang on Dali Museum’s walls.
Another relevant film would have been the 1986 BBC documentary, “The Definitive Dali,” which makes known the artist’s intentions for his melting clocks (emblems for passing time), dresser drawers (stand-ins for secrets) and ants (insignia for decay).
Or there’s the movie “Dali Dimension: Decoding the Mind of a Genius,” which would help museum visitors understand the artist as a mad scientist with a paintbrush. They could see him reflecting Einstein’s theory that there is a 4th dimension beyond time in his painting “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory,” complete with watches liquefying in the deserted stretch of land.
Dali also pushed the point about the meaningless of time is his “Soft Watch Exploding” (also in the museum collection), by describing the watch hanging on a ledge, melting as usual, but this time with its parts popping out like so much debris. Screening “Dali Dimension: Decoding the Mind of a Genius” would have enriched the viewing of Dali Museum’s art collection way better than Estevez’ “The Way.”
The odd thing is that the museum used to show Dali-relevant movies in a program called “Dali and Beyond Film Series” and ought to consider doing that again.
NOTE: This is my final column for the St. Petersburg Examiner. Readers of this site can find my commentaries each week on the National Examiner site. Here’s the link: http://www.examiner.com/art-critic-in-national/joan-altabe