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How Salvador Dali is a symbol of resistance in 'Money Heist'

Red jumpsuits and Salvador Dali masks galore, Netflix’s Spanish series Money Heist was set in Madrid and saw the charming and mysterious “El Professor” recruiting a ragtag team of delinquents to carry out an ambitious heist in the Royal Mint of Spain. 

They also ransack the Bank of Spain deal with hostages, police and other adversaries while the Professor, the mastermind, conducts the entire heist. 

Created by Alex Pina, starring Alvaro Morte, Ursula Corbero, Pedro Alonso and others, the show also popular the 19th-century Italian folk song ‘Bella Ciao’, which was seen as a symbol of resistance by the mondina workers against the harsh, inhumane working conditions in the rice fields. 

The song became a ubiquitous symbol of Italian Resistance, and was later used as a  call of protest by Italian partisans against the oppressive Nazi forces. The Spanish series used the remixed version of the song to usher in the spirit of resistance as the band of robbers raised their voices against the capitalistic society. 

The Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali has prevailed as a symbol of resistance throughout. A pioneer in surrealism, he is best known for his 1931 artwork The Persistence of Memory. Having lived through the Spanish Civil War, his works had rebellious overtones as he rejected and revolted against authority. 

Dali has become a source of both nationalistic fervour and resistance. One of the most influential figures from Spain, Dali’s use of striking images and oddities rejected the conventional forms of art. Throughout his works, he emphasised various themes, ranging from dreams, sexuality, subconscious, faith, science and more.  

As an artistic movement, surrealism came into being after the end of World War I. Artists used the opportunity to lay bare the thoughts of the subconscious as they reacted to the unnerving state of the world around them. Chaos became their muse, and they used that as an inspiration to express their innermost desires and dreams. 

The movement had an undeniable impact on society, especially in terms of the revolutionary politics of the state. With many surrealists joining in the revolution, rejecting conventional forms of art, Dali as a surrealist painter, became an epitome of resistance against authority. 

By combining the colour red, which again is the colour to define rage and defiance, the creators make the robbers don Dali masks to hide behind the facade of anonymity while carrying out their fervent operation against the authority. The Professor and his team wanted equitable distribution of wealth that led to such an audacious endeavour. To support the show’s central ethos of revolution, the three elements work in its favour, showing their intense fight against the system. 

Although Money Heist came to an end with its fifth and final season in December 2021, it lives in the hearts of people who were moved by the band of robbers’ fight against the oppressive system. 

Alex Pina has, however, promised a few spin-offs, starting with the one based on Berlin– played by Pedro Alonso- that is slated for a 2023 release. 

Watch all five seasons of Money Heist on Netflix now.