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Movie Review: 'Waiting for Dali'

Charming Spanish food comedy, Waiting for Dali available on Streaming Services everywhere.

By Sean PatrickPublished about a month ago 4 min read

Waiting for Dali (2024)

Directed by David Pujol

Written by David Pujol, Miguel Garcia Navarette

Starring Jose Garcia, Ivan Massague, Clara Ponsot

Release Date June 18th, 2024

Published June 18th, 2024

The story of Waiting for Dali begins in Barcelona, Spain, in 1974 with a revolution in progress. Workers at a local restaurant have joined a revolution against the Spanish government and are now facing persecution. Albert0 (Pol Lopez) and his brother, the second top chef at their restaurant, Fernando (Ivan Massague), have no choice but to turn to a mutual friend and fellow revolutionary, Francois (Nicholas Cazale) for help.

Francois's plan has the trio travel to the small Spanish village of Cadaques where Alberto and Fernando will have to swallow their pride and take work in a kitchen that is not under their leadership. It's an especially big step down for Fernando who was making a name for himself as a French cuisine expert in Barcelona. Now, he's a prep cook at a seaside restaurant called El Surreal. The owner, Jules (Jose Garcia), built the restaurant solely on the hope that one day he might get the famed artist, Salvador Dali to eat there.

Cadaques in 1974 was centered entirely around Salvador Dali who chose the town as his home. Dali's blessing was a make-or-break proposition for any business in town. Thus, when Jules opened his seaside restaurant, he hung his hopes on getting Dali to eat there. Each day, Jules ventures into the main part of town in hope of getting the famed artist to take his menu or try some free food. And each time, he's unable to get anywhere near Dali. Much to his dismay.

Meanwhile, Jules' daughter, Lola (Clara Ponset), who happens to be Francois' girlfriend, and who got Fernando and Alberto their jobs, is trying desperately to get her father to give up his Dali obsession. She believes the restaurant can succeed on good food, but only if they give up the French cuisine that Dali is believed to enjoy in favor of fresh local ingredients. She finds an ally in Fernando who slowly comes to embrace seafood caught right there in front of the restaurant.

When Jules' head Chef walks out, he must turn to Fernando who, in turn, goes to Lola to build a new menu and a new El Surreal. Hanging over the proceedings is the fact that police in Barcelona are still searching for Alberto and Francois with Fernando potentially going down with them if they are found. A local and very corrupt police captain has his eye on the restaurant and when news gets back to him that Police are searching for restaurant workers from Barcelona, his suspicions take the movie toward its final act.

That last paragraph makes the movie sound a lot more exciting than it really is. Not that the movie is not fun, but this is not a thriller, it's a comedy and a slice of life movie. The film has a lazy charm to it. The film proceeds at a leisurely pace unfolding a group of oddball characters and their quaint seaside town. It is reminiscent of classic Italian filmmaking where the vibe is more important than typical plot action. The movie has a story and is moving forward but it is moving deliberately and succeeding on the charm of these characters rather than the story being told.

It's a bit reminiscent of Fellini but far more conventional. Using the famed Salvador Dali also lends the film an artful quality that borrows on Dali's legend as an unpredictable oddball. The restaurant, which hopes to become a hit solely by impressing Dali, is done up with surrealistic touches that play off of Dali's famous works. There are giant eggs, mannequins at every table, and dozens of variations of melting clocks at the restaurant, and all are in place to impress a man who may never step foot in the restaurant.

Waiting for Dali is a vibes movie and if you enjoy a leisurely, sun-soaked, bit of Food porn, this is the movie for you. The characters quirky and romantic, the setting is beautiful, and the art of it all is surreal but with the edges sanded down for a more mainstream audience. I really enjoyed Waiting for Dali. The vibe is lovely. Seaside Spain is gorgeous and we get a good show from a cast of oddballs chasing romance and fighting fascism, like all good people should. Waiting for Dali is available via streaming rental as you read this.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at SeanattheMovies.blogspot.com. Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanatheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one time tip. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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    Sean PatrickWritten by Sean Patrick

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