Dali, Disney, and Destino

In 1945, Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney embarked upon a formidable and unlikely collaboration.  Their goal was to create a short film together, one that would bring Dali’s paintings to life within the context of a Disney style romance.   The film was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however production ceased not long after due to financial crisis at the Disney company.  All that was left of the project were the storyboards, 17 seconds of animation.

The project remained a secret and didn’t see light of day until a half-century later when, in 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney accidentally stumbled upon it while working on Fantasia 2000, eventually resurrecting the dormant gem.  A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench’s cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí’s wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino’s production.

Destino is a tragic love story about Chronos, the personification of time, who falls in love with a mortal woman as the two float across the surrealist landscapes of Dalí’s paintings. The poetic, wordless animation features a score by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez performed by Dora Luz.  As fascinating as the film itself is the juxtaposition of the two creative geniuses behind it is just as incredble, each bringing his own life-lens to the project — Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney called it “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”  However you see it, Destino is undeniably beautiful, and an amazing work of art.


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