earrives in man. He travels quickly. He knows what he wants. He is our enemy. It brings violence and destruction. ”He is James Bond. And who summarizes the plot of "Live and let die" in a nutshell is Solitaire, fortune teller on behalf of the film villain.
Solitaire laid the cards for Bond, more precisely five tarot cards: Knight of the Staffs, Card VII – the Chariot, Knight of Swords, Card X – the Wheel of Fate. And finally, card XVI – the tower that is struck by lightning. It is the symbol for the purification, the explosive cleaning. And this is how this James Bond film ends, as every Bond film must end. Explosive!
It would not have been any different if Solitaire 007 had placed the cards with the sheet originally intended for it. The film producer Albert R. Broccoli himself is said to have commissioned the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí in 1973 to design a tarot deck. But Dalí – no longer the surrealist artist star of the 1930s, but above all a merciless self-marketer – was quickly out of the game, even the lavishly budgeted broccoli did not want to meet his fee requirements.
But Dalí did not let the idea rest because he saw himself as a prophet of the arts. Ten years later he published his Tarot as a signed graphic series in a small edition. Taschen-Verlag has now reissued it, including an introduction to the art of card laying.
The 78 maps of the small and large Arcana des Dalí-Tarot are a journey through the history of art from antiquity to modern times. The knight of the staff is now, for example, a rider from the fresco "procession of the three kings" from 1459 in the Florentine Palazzo Medici Riccardi. Dalí has added some Renaissance tracery, watercolor garlands and a mysterious blue toad.
Dalí designed the car himself, a dark golden, pharaoh-motivated chariot. The knight of the swords is the baroque Louis XIV from a colored copper engraving from 1700, garnished with Dalí's characteristic oil color signature to show who the real Sun King is.
He took the wheel of fate from the Duke of Berry's book of hours. And its tower is pure surrealism: a storm-covered stormy sky, in it a ruinous wall, supported by the typical Dalí crutch, which in the artist's cosmos represents the counterplay of consciousness and unconscious.
Dalí also interprets the cathartic effect of the important 16th card of the Tarot biblically, as the Pentecostal miracle reversal of the tower at Babel: the human megalomania and the Babylonian confusion associated with it are over with the destruction of the tower. God is good again, at Pentecost he lets the world proclaim a message that can be understood by everyone, the covenant with man is forged again.
Broccoli was probably not only too expensive, but also too high for Dalí's religiously impregnated surrealism. So the British illustrator Fergus Hall was hired to design the film props. Hall, who is known for the Prog rock band King Crimson due to some record covers, designed his tarot in a naive-pop visual language.
Both artists basically follow the design of the Rider-Waite-Tarot, which was conceived by an English occultist in 1910 and quickly became the most popular leaf of the card game that was developed in the late Middle Ages.
Fortune telling has largely disappeared from our everyday lives. Only stubborn esotericists throw chicken bones, read from the coffee grounds or put the cards to the Celtic cross to visualize the future. In contrast, the tarot remained popular in the film, precisely because its images are so suggestive in themselves.
Card XVII – the star, a symbol of hope – cannot save the first victim in "The Virgin Suicides" in the long term. The tarot card is found in the bathroom, where Cecilia's first attempt at suicide fails. In the western "Tombstone" Wyatt Earp has the future predicted, death, the devil and again the tower do not bode well. And in the horror sequel "Der Exozist III" perhaps the best known card XII plays a role – the hanged man.
In no movie, however, is the tarot as present as in "Live and let die". It's just a shame that it's not Dalí's trump cards. "Black lady on the red king?", 007 fooled poor Jane Seymour as a solitaire at the first meeting. "You made a mistake," she says, "the cards know everything about you" and lets him draw one.
Bond reveals card zero – the fool. Solitaire should have suspected that there would be problems, because in the tarot the fool symbolizes courage and fearlessness. It is also the male protection card. And Bond, especially when Roger Moore gives it, likes to play the fool but always remains macho.
"The session is over," says Solitaire, but 007 wants to learn more about the future. He should draw another card, it means to him and is startled – VI, the lovers. "We," Bond grins. And Salvador Dalí would have had one of the most beautiful lovers in art history ready for Bond and Bond Girl: “Neptune and Amphitrite”.
Jan Gossaert painted the picture in life size in 1516, today it hangs in the Berlin Picture Gallery. Dalí put them under a heart and a winged putto. A butterfly flutters to its legs, its symbol for the psyche and its ability to understand and change.
And Solitaire only has to bend a little to be seduced. Bond lets her draw a tarot leaf herself, and now it is she who reveals card VI. But the fortune teller has fallen for a card player. On the way to the bedroom, the fool drops the cards: the whole bunch consists only of lovers. Dalí would surely have liked this coup.
Dalí, of course, also immortalized himself as Card I. In art as in life, he is: the magician. With a crazy look and a twirled mustache, he mimicks the magician who makes the impossible possible, the unconscious conscious. In the tarot, the magician represents human will and its ability to put thoughts into action. It is one of the most positive of all cards.
Salvador Dalí also knew its negative meaning, the tendency to arrogance and self-centeredness. But artists can be forgiven for this trait. And secret agents.
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. (tagsToTranslate) Visual Arts (t) Card Games (t) Art History (t) Fortune Teller (t) Woeller-Marcus (t) Dali (t) Salvador (1904-1989) (t) Roger Moore (t) Violence (t) Jane Seymour (t) Western Tombstone (t) Games (t) Art (t) Salvador Dalí (t) Johannes Fiebig (t) Celtic Cross (t) James Bond