“I have come to Hollywood and am in touch with the three great American surrealists – the Marx Brothers, Cecil B. DeMille and Walt Disney,” Salvador Dali wrote in a letter to Andre Breton the French Writer and Poet most famous for writing the Surrealist Manifesto.
Looking at Walt Disney and the works of the Disney Studios as Surrealist Art was not something I would ever imagine, but neither was a collaboration between Dali and Disney. I started to read up on the project and went back, brushed up on a few things I have forgotten and then realized that Surrealism, Dali and Disney make perfect sense.
Surrealism as defined by Wikipedia is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur (A conversation or literary device used for comedic purpose); however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader Andres Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
In 1946, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney planned a cartoon together to create a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers, inspired by Freud's work on the unconscious mind and the hidden images with double meaning. The film, titled Destino, tells the tragic love story of 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. The film was storyboarded by Dalí and John Hench.
Hench, a Disney studio artist best known for being the lead developer of the giant mechanical squid used in the Oscar winning film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Hench went on to design many iconic elements for Disney's theme parks including Space Mountain and Cinderella’s Castle in Florida and Japan.
The film is fascinating, but it is the juxtaposition of the two creative geniuses behind it, that excites me most! Each a master in their chosen mediums, brings their own style, vision and life 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." Watching the film you can see the broad strokes of both these genius artists and at the same time one never out shines or over shadows the other collaborator.
Unfortunately, work on Destino was stopped when Disney Studios and their partner, RKO Studios, decided the project wouldn't make money. Walt Disney regretted the decision. The project was left unfinished until Disney's nephew, Roy Disney became head of the company's animation division and decided to revive the project in 1999. While working on Fantasia 2000, Roy Disney rediscovered the project and 17 seconds of original animation. Using this clip and the original storyboards, 25 animators brought the film to completion.
In 2003, Disney released the six minute animated short, finally bringing closure to a project that began 57 years earlier. Destino premiered at The New York Film Festival in 2003 and would receive an Oscar nomination for the Best Animated Short Film, among other plaudits from critics.
HERE IS THE LINK TO DESTINO [link]