“A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.”–describing Destino
“A simple story about a young girl in search of true love .”–describing Destino
DIRECTED BY: Dominique Monfery
FEATURING: Vocals of Dora Luz
PLOT: Essentially plotless, but the loose narrative involves a nude woman wandering the desert who comes upon a pyramidal statue with a male figure embedded in it. A bird bursts from the statue and it comes to life. The woman and man try to approach each other but walls and other surreal obstacles constantly grow between them, until the woman is transformed into a ballerina with a dandelion head, and then into a bell housed in a tower.
- After making the (flop) Fantasia, was still looking for opportunities to incorporate high culture into his animated projects. In the 1940s visited Hollywood frequently; fascinated by stars and by filmmaking, and constantly promoting himself, the Spanish eccentric struck up friendships with many Tinseltown luminaries, including Disney. The two men hit it off and conceived the idea of a collaboration on a short film (which would be part of an anthology feature film similar to Fantasia). Dalí worked closely with Disney animator John Hench, who translated many of the Spaniard’s sketches and ideas into ready-to-film animation cels. The project was begun in 1945 and continued for eight months, but only 17 seconds of footage was actually created before it was scrapped.
- Secondary sources report that the male statue is Chronos (presumably the god of time) while the female character is named “Dahlia” (a feminization of the artist’s name).
- The official explanation for Disney’s decision to shelve the project was that the wartime vogue for “package pictures” had passed, and Disney’s distributors were requesting full-length features. The documentary Dalí & Disney: A Date with Destino suggests that Walt may have found the film too “bananas,” citing a report that he blew up one afternoon after seeing that Dalí had stopped painting pictures of ballerinas and had begun drawing baseball players instead.
- Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew and a Disney senior executive, was looking for material to provide extras for the DVD release of Fantasia 2000 when he discovered the unused material for Destino in a moldy corporate storeroom. He decided to reconstruct the film from the existing storyboards and leftover concept art, largely so that the Disney Company would gain property rights in the underlying artwork. Fortunately, John Hench was still alive at the time to provide guidance for the reconstruction.
- This was animator Dominique Monfery’s first work as a director.
- The short briefly played theaters as an unlikely introduction to the comedy Calendar Girls.
- Destino was nominated for an Academy Award for best short animated film in 2004, but—incredibly, given its provenance and historical value—it did not win. (Harvie Krumpet got the nod instead). ‘s excellent
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The most impressive of many gloriously hallucinatory moments is the seventeen second sequence that John Hench animated to try to convince a faltering Walt Disney to go ahead with the project. Two grotesque faces, with bulging eyeballs and tattered skin pulled taut and held in place by crutches, are perched upon two turtles who slowly bear them together. In the negative space formed when their noses touch, a perfect, pearly ballerina appears.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Dandelion-headed dancer; baguette-wearing bicyclists; ballerina-head baseball
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Destino is Salvador Dalí’s only moving canvas. A slight breeze from Walt Disney Studios nudges it ever so slightly off its already tilted axis. This dream of a Disney princess trapped in Dalí’s delirious desert is something we will not see the likes of again in our lifetimes.
Promotional clip about Destino from the Dalí Museum (in Spanish and English)
COMMENTS: Salvador Dalí was a genius. This fact may seem Continue reading 204. DESTINO (2003)