The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 10 Salvador Dali)

Artists and bohemians inspired Woody Allen for ‘Midnight in Paris

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I am going through the whole list of famous writers and artists that he included in the movie. Today we will look at Salvador Dali.  By the way, I know that some of you are wondering how many posts I will have before I am finished. Right now I have plans to look at Rodin,Coco Chanel, Modigliani, Matisse, Luis Bunuel, Josephine Baker, Van Gogh, Picasso, Man Ray, T.S. Elliot and several more.

In this clip below you will see when Picasso first met Dali.

Adrien Brody plays Salvador Dali in “Midnight in Paris.”

Adrien Brody 3

Associated Press

Salvador Dalí in 1971

Dalí, Salvador (1904-89): Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and designer. After passing through phases of Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting, he joined the Surrealists in 1929 and his talent for self-publicity rapidly made him the most famous representative of the movement. Throughout his life he cultivated eccentricity and exhibitionism (one of his most famous acts was appearing in a diving suit at the opening of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936), claiming that this was the source of his creative energy. He took over the Surrealist theory of automatism but transformed it into a more positive method which he named `critical paranoia’. According to this theory one should cultivate genuine delusion as in clinical paranoia while remaining residually aware at the back of one’s mind that the control of the reason and will has been deliberately suspended. He claimed that this method should be used not only in artistic and poetical creation but also in the affairs of daily life. His paintings employed a meticulous academic technique that was contradicted by the unreal `dream’ space he depicted and by the strangely hallucinatory characters of his imagery. He described his pictures as `hand-painted dream photographs’ and had certain favorite and recurring images, such as the human figure with half-open drawers protruding from it, burning giraffes, and watches bent and flowing as if made from melting wax (The Persistence of Memory, MOMA, New York; 1931).

(My wife and I saw the Alfred Hitchcock film “Spellbound” in 1985 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and we saw this dream that Dali contributed as seen in clip below.)

In 1937 Dalí visited Italy and adopted a more traditional style; this together with his political views (he was a supporter of General Franco) led Breton to expel him from the Surrealist ranks. He moved to the USA in 1940 and remained there until 1955. During this time he devoted himself largely to self-publicity; his paintings were often on religious themes (The Crucifixion of St John of the Cross, Glasgow Art Gallery, 1951), although sexual subjects and pictures centring on his wife Gala were also continuing preoccupations. In 1955 he returned to Spain and in old age became a recluse.

Apart from painting, Dalí’s output included sculpture, book illustration, jewellery design, and work for the theatre. In collaboration with the director Luis Buñuel he also made the first Surrealist films—Un chien andalou (1929) and L’Age d’or (1930)—and he contributed a dream sequence to Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). He also wrote a novel, Hidden Faces (1944) and several volumes of flamboyant autobiography. Although he is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, his status is controversial; many critics consider that he did little if anything of consequence after his classic Surrealist works of the 1930s. There are museums devoted to Dalí’s work in Figueras, his home town in Spain, and in St Petersburg in Florida.


1904: Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí was born on May, 11th in Figueras, Catalonia, Spain.

1917: He started to visit the School of Art. First paintings.

1918: First small exhibition in the Theatre.

1921-25: Went to Academy of Arts in Madrid. Conflicts with his teachers.

1925: First stand-alone exibition of Dalí at the Galery of Dalmau.

1926-28: Early explorations of the Surrealism. Dalí in Cadaqués 1927

1929: Gala went into his life. Joined the group of Surrealists in 1930 Gala 1927, and Dalí 1929

1934-37: Dalí had his paranoid-critic-epoch. Dalí and Gala in 1937

1941-44: “Avida Dollars” in America.

1945-49: Dalí the Classic. Dalí and his Daddy in Cadaqués 1948

1950-65: His mystic period. He wrote several books (The secret life of Salvador Dalí).

1963-78: Dalí the Divine – Dalí and the Science.

1979-83: Theory of Disaster.

1982: Gala died.

1989: Dalí, Jan. 23th, died.


The above clip is from the film series by Francis Schaeffer “How should we then live?” Below is an outline of the 8th episode on the Impressionists and the age of Fragmentation.


I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought

A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas) and Post-Impressionism (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat): appearance and reality.

1. Problem of reality in Impressionism: no universal.

2. Post-Impression seeks the universal behind appearances.

3. Painting expresses an idea in its own terms as a work of art; to discuss the idea in a painting is not to intellectualize art.

4. Parallel search for universal in art and philosophy; Cézanne.

B. Fragmentation.

1. Extremes of ultra-naturalism or abstraction: Wassily Kandinsky.

2. Picasso leads choice for abstraction: relevance of this choice.

3. Failure of Picasso (like Sartre, and for similar reasons) to be fully consistent with his choice.

C. Retreat to absurdity.

1. Dada , and Marcel Duchamp: art as absurd. (Dada gave birth to Surrealism).

2. Art followed philosophy but came sooner to logical end.

3. Chance in his art technique as an art theory impossible to practice: Pollock.

II. Music As a Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Non-resolution and fragmentation: German and French streams.

1. Influence of Beethoven’s last Quartets.

2. Direction and influence of Debussy.

3. Schoenberg’s non-resolution; contrast with Bach.

4. Stockhausen: electronic music and concern with the element of change.

B. Cage: a case study in confusion.

1. Deliberate chance and confusion in Cage’s music.

2. Cage’s inability to live the philosophy of his music.

C. Contrast of music-by-chance and the world around us.

1. Inconsistency of indulging in expression of chaos when we acknowledge order for practical matters like airplane design.

2. Art as anti-art when it is mere intellectual statement, divorced from reality of who people are and the fullness of what the universe is.

III. General Culture As the Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Propagation of idea of fragmentation in literature.

1. Effect of Eliot’s Wasteland and Picasso’s Demoiselles d’ Avignon

compared; the drift of general culture.

2. Eliot’s change in his form of writing when he became a Christian.

3. Philosophic popularization by novel: Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir.

B. Cinema as advanced medium of philosophy.

1. Cinema in the 1960s used to express Man’s destruction: e.g. Blow-up.

2. Cinema and the leap into fantasy:


The Hour of the Wolf, Belle de Jour, Juliet of the Spirits,

The Last Year at Marienbad.

3. Bergman’s inability to live out his philosophy (see Cage):

Silence and The Hour of the Wolf.

IV. Only on Christian Base Can Reality Be Faced Squarely

I looked up the definition of Surrealism and here it is:

(1920s-1930s)  Surrealism was both a art and literary movement that stressed the significance of letting one’s imagination rule through the use of the sub-conscious without the hindrances of logic and normal standards.  The anti-rationalist characteristic that stemmed from the Dadaist movement was a part of Surrealism.  However, Surrealism involved more playful and spontaneous in spirit.  Ways of thinking about how a viewer perceives the world around himself helped to shape the movement.  The movement was begun in 1924 in the city Paris by Andre Breton, the author of the ‘Manifeste du surrealisme.’  His writings encouraged the expression of one’s imagination through the use of dreams.  His writings attracted many artists of the Dadaist movement.  The Surrealist movement was helped along in its development during the 1920s and 1930s with the famous artist Salvador Dali.

From left to right: Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, (Hans) Jean Arp, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Rene Crevel, Man Ray

Jean Arp (Hans Arp)
Jean Arp is associated with the DADA movement. His collages were of torn pieces of paper dropped and affixed where they would land. His use of chance is intended to create free of human intervention. “Dada,” wrote Arp, “wished to destroy the hoaxes of reason and to discover an unreasoned order.”

Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance

Random Collage

Torn Paper and Gouache

Dada carried to its logical conclusion the notion of all having come about by chance; the result was the final absurdity of everything, including humanity.

Pictured below: Salvador Dalí (lower center) and Marcel Duchamp (upper left) attending a bullfight.

Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) by Marcel Duchamp

Francis Schaeffer continues: 

The man who perhaps most clearly and consciously showed this understanding of the resulting absurdity fo all things was Marcel Duchamp (1887-1969). He carried the concept of fragmentation further in Nude Descending a Staircase (1912), one version of which is now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art–a painting in which the human disappeared completely. The chance and fragmented concept of what is led to the devaluation and absurdity of all things. All one was left with was a fragmented view of a life which is absurd in all its parts. Duchamp realized that the absurdity of all things includes the absurdity of art itself. His “ready-mades” were any object near at hand, which he simply signed. It could be a bicycle wheel or a urinal. Thus art itself was declared absurd.


(Jackson Pollock pictured below dripping his paint)

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? noted on pages 200-203:

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is perhaps the clearest example in the United States of painting deliberately in order to make the statements that all is chance. He placed canvases horizontally on the floor and dripped paint on them from suspended cans swinging over them. Thus, his paintings were a product of chance. But wait a minute! Is there not an order in the lines of paint on his canvases? Yes, because it was not really chance shaping his canvases! The universe is not a random universe; it has order. Therefore, as the dripping paint from the swinging cans moved over the canvases, the lines of paint were following the order of the universe itself. The universe is not what these painters said it is.

(John Cage pictured above)

(Woody Allen, Peter O’Toole and Capucine)


(Marcel Duchamp plays white, John Cage plays black, on a chessboard modified to generate tones depending on where the chess pieces are. Toronto, 1968. Teeny Duchamp at far left, camerman in the background.  This was a performance.)

John Cage provides perhaps the clearest example of what is involved in the shift of music. Cage believed the universe is a universe of chance. He tried carrying this out with great consistency. For example, at times he flipped coins to decide what the music should be. At other times he erected a machine that led an orchestra by chance motions so that the orchestra would not know what was coming next. Thus there was no order. Or again, he placed two conductors leading the same orchestra, separated from each other by a partition, so that what resulted was utter confusion. There is a close tie-in again to painting; in 1947 Cage made a composition he called MUSIC FOR MARCEL DUCHAMP. But the sound produced by his music was composed only of silence (interrupted only by random environmental sounds), but as soon as he used his chance methods sheer noise was the outcome.

But Cage also showed that one cannot live on such a base, that the chance concept of the universe does not fit the universe as it is. Cage is an expert in mycology, the science of mushrooms. And he himself said, “I became aware that if I approached mushrooms in the spirit of my chance operation, I would die shortly.” Mushroom picking must be carefully discriminative. His theory of the universe does not fit the universe that exists.

All of this music by chance, which results in noise, makes a strange contrast to the airplanes sitting in our airports or slicing through our skies. An airplane is carefully formed; it is orderly (and many would also think it beautiful). This is in sharp contrast to the intellectualized art which states that the universe is chance. Why is the airplane carefully formed and orderly, and what Cage produced utter noise? Simply because an airplane must fit the orderly flow lines of the universe if it is to fly!

!Midnight in the Paris-best scene of the movie Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Woody Allen

published on Dec 18, 2012

Woody Allen talking with Salvador Dali and Man Ray and Luis Bunuel. 

This is the transcript of

DALI: We met, earlier tonight…At the party! Dali.

GIL: I remember!-

DALI: A bottle of red wine!

GIL: It can’t be… Yeah….So?

DALI: Another glass for this man, please. I love the language!The French! The waiters? No.You like the shape of the rhinoceros?

GIL: The rhinoceros? Uh…Haven’t really thought about it.I paint the rhinoceros.

DALI: I paint you. Your sad eyes.Your big lips, melting over the hot sand,with one tear.Yes! And in your tear, another face.The Christ’s face!Yes, in the rhinoceros.

GIL: Yeah. I mean, I probably do look sad. I’m in…a very perplexing situation.

DALI: Diablo…Luis! Oye, Luis!(Damn. Luis! Hey, Luis!)My friends.This… is Luis Bunuel…and…Mr. Man Ray.-

GIL: Man Ray? My Gosh!- How ’bout that?

DALI: This is Pen-der. Pen-der. Pender!- Yes. And I am Dalí!- Dalí. Yes.You have to remember. Pender is in a perplexing situation.

GIL: It sounds so crazy to say.You guys are going to think I’m drunk, but I have to tell someone. I’m…from a…a different time. Another era.The future. OK? I come…from the 2000th millennium to here.I get in a car, and I slide through time.

MAN RAY: Exactly correct.You inhabit two worlds.- So far, I see nothing strange.- Why?

GIL: Yeah, you’re surrealists!But I’m a normal guy. See, in one life,I‘m engaged to marry a woman I love.At least, I think I love her.Christ! I better love her! I’m marrying her!

DALI: The rhinoceros makes love by mounting the female.But…is there a difference in the beauty between two rhinoceroses?

MAN RAY: There is another woman?Adriana. Yes, and I’m…very drawn to her.I find her extremely alluring.The problem is that other men,great artists – geniuses- also find her alluring,and she finds them. So, there’s that…

MAN RAY: A man in love with a woman from a different era.I see a photograph.

LUIS BUNUEL: I see a film.I see an insurmountable problem.I see……a rhinoceros.

Let me make a few points here. We see that Gil Pender’s perplexing problem is that he is in love and this goes against his views that we are not put here for a purpose, but by mindless chance. God created us so we can’t deny that we are created for a purpose and when a person falls truly in love with another person then they have a hard time maintaining  this is only just a product of evolution and has no lasting significance.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Bertrand Russell playing chess with his son (1940).

The Bible teaches that we all know that God exists and has made us in his image and if we deny that then we are suppressing the knowledge of our conscience in unrighteousness.  Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine).

But let me respond further with the words of Francis Schaeffer from his book HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT (the chapter is entitled, “Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?”

Of course, if the infinite uncreated Personal communicated to the finite created personal, he would not exhaust himself in his communication; but two things are clear here:
1. Even communication between once created person and another is not exhaustive, but that does not mean that for that reason it is not true. 
2. If the uncreated Personal really cared for the created personal, it could not be thought unexpected for him to tell the created personal things of a propositional nature;otherwise as a finite being the created personal would have numerous things he could not know if he just began with himself as a limited, finite reference point. In such a case, there is no intrinsic reason why the uncreated Personal could communicate some vaguely true things, but could not communicate propositional truth concerning the world surrounding the created personal – for fun, let’s call that science. Or why he could not communicate propositional truth to the created personal concerning the sequence that followed the uncreated Personal making everything he made – let’s call that history. There is no reason we could think of why he could not tell these two types of propositional things truly. They would not be exhaustive; but could we think of any reason why they would not be true? The above is, of course, what the Bible claims for itself in regard to propositional revelation.
(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)
DOES THE BIBLE ERR IN THE AREA OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY? The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Charles Darwin himself longed for evidence to come forward from the area of  Biblical Archaeology  but so much has  advanced  since Darwin wrote these words in the 19th century! Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription.13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.


A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Below is a review I got off the internet:

Cannes (France), 12 May (EFE).- Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ was chosen to open the 64th Cannes Film Festival, a film partly set in Paris the 1920s, a point in time that fascinated the American director

Owen Wilson as Gil and Rachel McAdams as Inez in "Midnight in Paris." 2011 Sony Pictures Classics.

Owen Wilson as Gil and Rachel McAdams as Inez in “Midnight in Paris.”

Paul Walker-Vin Diesel’s FAST FIVE Biggest 2011 Worldwide Blockbuster: Box Office

Woody Allen‘s latest, Midnight in Paris, is doing remarkably well in limited release. Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates, Léa Seydoux, and Tom Hiddleston, Midnight in Paris collected $599k at six theaters, averaging an outstanding $99,834 per location.

That’s not only the best per-theater average of 2011, but also the best debut-weekend average of a Woody Allen movie since time immemorial, i.e., B.M — or before Manhattan (1979), as that’s where Box Office Mojo’s opening-weekend list ends.

Even adjusting for inflation (using Box Office Mojo’s chart), back in 1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo, one of Allen’s best-received efforts, averaged $84,205 at 3 locations. In 1995, Mighty Aphrodite, which would earn Mira Sorvino a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, collected $31,049 per site at 19 locations. Manhattanaveraged $52,450 at 29 locations. (Note: All things being equal, the higher the number of theaters, the lower the per-theater average.)

A few more comparisons: Midnight in Paris earned nearly four times more than You’ll Meet a Tall Dark Stranger‘s $160k — also at six sites — on its debut weekend in September last year. At four theaters, The King’s Speech averaged $88,863 in November last year.

According to Box Office Mojo, Midnight in Paris boasted the 16th highest weekend per-theater average among movies in limited release since 1982. (Most of those on the top-ten list are costlier, special screenings of Disney movies.)

Dreamgirls, Brokeback Mountain, Precious, and Red State (at a single location) are the four non-Disney, non-animated releases ahead of Midnight in Paris. The list, of course, hasn’t been adjusted for inflation.

Other posts with Woody Allen:

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 10 Salvador Dali)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 9, Georges Braque)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 5 Juan Belmonte)

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What The Flick?!: Midnight In Paris – Review by What The Flick?! 2011 Roger Arpajou / Sony Pictures Classics Alison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald and Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Midnight in Paris.” 2011 Roger Arpajou / Sony Pictures Classics Owen Wilson as Gil in “Midnight in Paris.” 2011 Roger Arpajou / Sony […]

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 2 Cole Porter)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 1 William Faulkner)

Photo by Phill Mullen The only known photograph of William Faulkner (right) with his eldest brother, John, was taken in 1949. Like his brother, John Faulkner was also a writer, though their writing styles differed considerably. My grandfather, John Murphey, (born 1910) grew up in Oxford, Mississippi and knew both Johncy and “Bill” Faulkner. He […]

I love Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris”

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” was so good that I will be doing a series on it. My favorite Woody Allen movie is Crimes and Misdemeanors and I will provide links to my earlier posts on that great movie. Movie Guide the Christian website had the following review: MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is the […]

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