Mary Harron guests San Francisco Film Festival with 'Daliland'

Mary Harron was a special guest at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April.I had the opportunity to interview her from Sweden after returning from the Créteil International Women's Film Festival in March 24 – April 2. Harron is probably one of the best female auteur filmmakers who writes and directs her own films. She has a very eclectic body of work and her latest film is Daliland about the Spanish filmmaker and surrealist artist Salvador Dalí.  His signature in popular culture is his extravagant looking moustache turned up at the ends held in place with hair oil. 

Dalíland takes place when Dalí is 70 years old with flashbacks to his younger years with his muse and Russian wife Gala and the mature Gala is played by the magnificent Barbara Sukowa. Dalí is a curiosity for young people, but he does not impress the film critics of his time when he was in his 70s. He is shown milling around at celebrity parties in the art world where people show up to be seen at a “happening” with him. His followers do not really have great contact with him and he is regarded as an oddity.  The film also shows that he likes to watch people having sex another sign of him being out of step with the times as an observer rather than participant.

When I interviewed Mary Harron, she was happy to hear her debut film I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) was one of my favorites in her repertoire. You can tell that a tremendous amount of research went into that film which is layered and detailed. Lili Taylor plays Valerie Solanas in an outstanding performance that brings the visionary lesbian artist into sharp focus. 

Andy Warhol (played by Jared Harris) is an enigma whose mother in real life ironed his underwear and like Dalí attracts people who are fascinated by his way of making art and film. Harron's focus is on Solanas and her background, writing, lifestyle and eccentricity. People hung around Warhol's studio where he made video and photographic portraits of his fans. This kind of fan based cultural phenomena is interesting in Harron’s films profiling sensational artists in popular culture. 

Dalíland was not allowed to be shot in Spain by the estate of Salvador Dalí  even if Ben Kingsley is almost a carbon copy of the Spanish surrealist.  I Shot Andy Warhol was approved by the Warhol estate.

Here now is Mary Harron in an exclusive interview with Movie Magazine International interviewed by Moira Sullivan

© 2023 - Moira Jean Sullivan - Air Date: 06/09/23
Movie Magazine International