Love In The Time Of Lorca
By Michael Martin
In the film Dal' and Lorca engage in a tortuous push and pull, but they first come together physically in a scene where they swim naked and kiss under the moonlight. 'I loved Lorca's closeness to the earth and sky and moon and his love of the texture of the countryside,' says Morrison. 'I tried to get some of that textural feel, to make a sensual film in the wider sense as well as in the specific sense.' But as Lorca grows more attached, Dal' backs away, and their ill-fated affair eventually ends in a violent, voyeuristic threesome. 'We didn't have any problems with the sexuality,' says Beltr'n. 'On the set the sex was less important than the emotions. The sex scenes are beautiful -- very tragic and very painful.'
The film plays a provocative game of 'What if?' in exploring Lorca and Dal's relationship, the subject of historical controversy. Lorca never spoke of the affair; Dal' referred to it only briefly near the end of his life, in an interview where he talked about how he had attempted to have sex with Lorca but was unable to complete the act because it hurt. 'Nobody knows exactly what happened [between them],' says Morrison. 'But what's not in dispute is that they were very close. Lorca keeps popping up in Dal's pictures over this period, and Dal' keeps popping up in Lorca's poetry. Artistically they inspired one another even though they were very different, and their intimacy went beyond a friendship. They at least attempted to have sex a couple of times. As Dal' recounts it, he was both attracted to and repelled by Lorca's sexuality. But what was important to me was that the actors inhabited the characters truthfully, that they did something that felt real to them.'
So was Dal' closeted? 'I think it would be a mistake to try to pin a gay or straight label to Dal',' says Goslett. 'I think the situation for Dal' was complex. He had a profound fear of sexual intimacy, seemingly based in childhood trauma. It seems clear to me that Dal' desired to be physically close to Lorca, but because of his psychological hang-ups he was unable to follow through with it. The combination of such a profound emotional intimacy and his inability to reciprocate it on a physical level proved too much for Dal'.'
The artist left Lorca for a woman; Lorca was devastated. Yet when the two went their separate ways, they found great fame: Lorca published popular books of poetry and studied in New York at Columbia University before returning to Madrid to direct theater. He had a number of affairs (one with another man who left him for a woman) but never really recovered from his love for Dal'.
'The relationship had a deep and long-lasting impact on both men,' says Goslett. 'It represents a moment in their lives where they could have taken very different paths. For Lorca it marks a great turning point in his work. After falling in love and having his heart broken by Dal', he truly connected with his emotional side. His writing was never the same again. Although Lorca was more overtly traumatized by the way their friendship broke down, I think the loss was greater for Dal'. After his departure from the university in Madrid he began to construct the buffoonish, life-as-art persona that brought him such fame in the years to come. It was a mask. And as Lorca often pointed out in his work, the price you pay for wearing a mask is that it becomes increasingly difficult to take it off.'