Miss Dalí tells the story of Anna Maria, the younger sister of Salvador Dalí, and muse, model and protagonist to this most exciting and outrageous painter of the 20th Century.
Over their crazy Mediterranean summers together in Cadaqués with GarcíaLorca, Buñuel, Éluard, Amanda Lear, and Gala, they created they created not just a happy world, but ultimately the tragedy leading up to the day the siblings fell out - never to be reconciled for the rest of their lives.
Love, happiness, paradise. Passion, hate, betrayal, death.
The hidden drama of the DALÍ siblings.
Ana Maria Dalí is four years younger than her brother Salvador and they adore each other. They will soon enjoy the great progressive atmosphere of Republican Spain, fraternizing with great creators such as García Lorca, Buñuel… A happy paradise which is shattered by the outbreak of European Wars, the arrival of the always mysterious Gala and with the astonishing worldwide success of Salvador, one of the greatest painters of the 20th Century.
The fascinating beauty of Cadaqués, one of the most beautiful villages of the Mediterranean gives this contemporary tragedy a unique edge. Two genuine personalities, who despite the love they profess for each other throughout their entire lives, stop talking to each other for forty years. The Dalís are marked, like a Greek tragedy, by their character, their loves, their free spirits, their betrayals, for being products of their own family and for having lived intensely the most tormented and passionate years of a century full of war, dictatorships, and of cultural, social, political and artistic change.
An almost unreal story of love but also of resentment, small-mindedness, ambition and power which would in the end splinter the nature of sibling relationships, explained by an exceptional testimony, that of the long-suffering Anna María, Miss Dalí.
The fascinating and surprising beauty of Cadaqués is due to the contrast between a town on the edge of the sea and the sea itself set against the backdrop of the Pyrenees. There are those who believe it is one of the most beautiful places of the Mediterranean. Others widely claim that Cadaqués is the most beautiful village in the entire world. For example, Salvador Dalí. A claim that implies a great, noble and considerable nostalgia that I have shared for almost fifty years. I have also had the privilege of enjoying this wonderful and fascinating area of my country.
In the extreme north-east of the Iberian Peninsula are the Eastern foothills of the Pyrenees that almost form an island. There, one can experience the same sensation as when one is on an island: an obsession with contemplation, a sense of security – real or fictional – and of remoteness. The conviction, so pleasing, that the people, who are not lucky enough to live there, are totally misfortunate.
But Cadaqués is not an island; it's an awkward peninsula, which is defined by the fact that it has been barely accessible by land over the centuries. This has not served for any purpose at all, but rather made it even more isolated and accentuated the insular feelings of its inhabitants. In this corner of land there has always been the fear of the arrival of unknown people, of painful, incomprehensible and inexplicable laws, devoid of meaning.
Cadaqués’ only gateway was the sea, from where everything arrived: all the sorrows and glories, the plans and the good life. This explains their way of being and thinking. It is not just its splendid terrain, the hilly geological stratigraphy with the mountains that can be a bit over-bearing. It is the sea that, at times, is so calm that it seems like a sleeping eye, static, like a lake of constantly changing colours, under a vast, high void. The sky provoking constant desire, infinite, hard, glowing over a dark landscape which is green, grey, dull, and sad. The territory of Cadaqués is the best natural harbour of the Catalan coast, with the Mistral, Tramontane or Provencal winds and is also where the sea storms have shaped the very special character of its inhabitants.
The magnificent bay where the village is tucked away, sheltered coves of pure water, Jonquet, Cala Bona, Portaló, Tudela, Culip can be found at the end of this disturbed gulf between the Canigó and the Alps. The days of the Tramuntana wind have a magical glare, the wind swirls possessed out of the Earth and takes the sea, in rolling waves. The gusts of wind roll violently on the horizon. A bright jewel of chaos. As the contrast, the days of the South wind with its moisture-laden clouds over-power Cadaqués. Twilight falls on a sad, melancholy and irreparable emptiness, like a morbid and choking disconnected fatigue.
Portlligat, the cove where Dalí set up home, offers, in addition, extremely original tones that make for an unusual appearance, absolute tranquillity and rest. All these elements produce, in the years of the action that we are presenting, a strange feeling of tragedy, a desperate, merciless loneliness, which can only be reproduced thanks to artificial creation. It is in this forgotten corner that most of the masterpieces of one of the most bizarre and interesting painting of the 20th Century were created. An artist whose personality is more than intriguing for any narrator who wants to bear witness to him. It was always the touchstone for the most enthusiastic praise and the harshest criticism, but what is evident is that Salvador Dalí personified himself and created news at all times, for which was absolutely necessary skill and extraordinary intelligence.
This landscape acts as a fantastic and unsurpassable frame for this story together with the awakening of the passion of its protagonists. It is also the reason why this contemporary tragic story between Anna Maria and Salvador Dalí is so unique. Two genuine personalities, who despite the love they profess for each other throughout their entire lives, stop talking to each other for forty years. The Dalís are marked, like a Greek tragedy, by their character, their loves, their free spirits, their betrayals, for being products of their own family background and for having lived intensely the most tormented and passionate years of a century full of wars, dictatorships, and of cultural, social, political and artistic changes.
Two siblings who will enjoy the great progressive atmosphere of Republican Spain, fraternizing with great creators such as García Lorca, Buñuel, Miró, Eluard, Breton, and the always mysterious Gala. Two siblings who will become victims of the misery of war and above all the worldwide success of Salvador who worked like no other artist during the 20th Century; a success which will cost him a very high price in his personal life. The figure of the genius painter has been associated with greed and his voluntary submission to the Francoist dictatorship, which annihilated the freedoms of our fellow citizens for forty endless years. An almost unreal story of love but also of resentment, small-mindedness, ambition and power which would in the end splinter the nature of sibling relationships, explained by an exceptional testimony, that of the long-suffering Anna María, the Dalí.
A story marked by the Tramontane, the wind that fiercely and violently shook the Empordà and Cadaqués, showing its inhabitants the purest nature of surrealism and what the Divine Dalí wished to be: above everyone and everything else, always the maximum exponent.
For many years, I have been a witness to, known and dealt with many of the personalities I am introducing, especially Salvador Dalí. This also includes those who surrounded him. I have not been been able to place and develop all of them in the script due to a problem of cinematographic synthesis. I have left out his relationship with his loyal assistant painter for thirty years, the great set designer Isidor Beà, with whom I worked during my years in theatre and also only briefly mention Amanda Lear and Carlos Lozano, who I knew personally and who have also left accounts of the years they spent in the great painter’s company.
Dalí took me into his confidence; we shared outings in boats in the coves of Cap de Creus, long afternoons and nights both at his house in Portlligat and at mine in Cadaqués; in his suite in the old Ritz Hotel in Barcelona and at the Paris opening of his first great exhibition at the Pompidou Centre. I have spent many years reflecting on my contribution, as a narrator, to revealing not only the story of a unique family but also the profound attachment and love that we shared for a landscape, which is also that of my own life. This is where I have written most of my screenplays and finished both the books I have published; my memoirs and the diary of my journey around the world.
This is not about speculating about a personality, Salvador Dalí, a winning horse in any part of the world, proven by the interest that he still inspires twenty-five years after his death. I believe it is worth reflecting on a time and a spirit, which I was told to in first person and partially lived, in a film full of sincerity, affection but with a certain sorrow at how human beings behave.
A production of
ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA, S.A.
Screenwriter, Producer and Director : VENTURA PONS
Associate Producer: THOMAS SPIEKER
Co Associate Producers: JULIAN FRIEDMANN & CLARE DOWNS
Line Producer : MERCÈ CARRERO
Directors of photography : ANDALU VILA-SAN-JUAN / TITO ARCAS
Art director : BEL·LO TORRAS
Music : JOAQUIM BADIA
costume designer : ROSA MONTES
hair stylist and make up : ANNA MERINO
Editor : MARC FARRERAS
Casting Barcelona : PEP ARMENGOL
Casting UK : CROWLEY & POOLE CASTING LTD.
sound designer and re-recording sound mixer: XAVI SAUCEDO /WAVE FACTORY
graphic design : ALVARO CORTINA / XIRIMIRI STUDIO
© 2017 ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA, S.A.
D.L. B 17505 -2017