Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I have had this poster on the wall in my little work space above my computer, and occasionally people ask me about it. I finally put it in my scanner today and got a pretty good image. Babaouo is the name of a Salvador Dali film that was never finished. Actually, aside from some designs, a screenplay and this poster, it was barely started. Dali’s script was intended as a completion of a trilogy of surrealist works started with Un Chien Andalou (1929) andL’Age d’Or (1930). It was eventually filmed by Manuel Cussó-Ferrer in 1998, and tells the story of Babaouo, who sets out to rescue his lover, who has been imprisoned in a castle. The plot sounds like an excuse for a journey that incorporates plenty of surrealist imagery, but it’s difficult to say how closely the poster relates to the film itself – it has plenty of his trademarks, such as the ants crawling on skin, and the melting clock, which has been cut and pasted fromThe Persistence of Memory (1931). Is this Dali’s sly commentary on the marketing of the celebrity artist, pre-empting the film’s production with recognisable but irrelevant iconography? Or did he do it to try and raise some money for the production? It’s interesting that he began with the publicity long before the shooting had begun, relishing the chance to pre-visualise it as a finished property.

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