Walt Disney & Salvador Dali's Lost Work- 'Destino'

by Raven Duran

Walt Disney and Salvador Dali created a short film that was lost for more than a half century. Yes, you heard that correctly. Production on the film titled Destino, was shut down due to lack of funding during WWII. It's hard to believe two of the greatest pioneers of surrealism and animation could come together to collaborate on, what I would argue, is the most awe inspiring short film Disney has ever created. It's also hard to believe the film was swallowed up by the sands of time only to be rediscovered in 1999 and finally released in 2003. Yet, that is exactly what happened.

Destino is a six-minute short film directed by French director Dominique Monféry and scored by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez. The original plan for the film was to create a six-minute short featuring live dancers and a new animation technique which would explore Freud's theories on the subconscious mind and subliminal messages. It seems however that fate had an entirely different plan for the film. In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney found the film while working on Fantasia and set to work restoring the picture and bringing it back to life.

During the film we watch as a story unfolds; Chronos (the personification of time) realizes that his love for a mortal woman named Dahlia will go unfulfilled. Dahlia, ever evaded by her love (as time tends to do) dances with Chronos to Dominguez's soundtrack without a word. Their tragically fated love story is told over the landscape of Dali's surrealist imagery. 

There's an overwhelming eeriness to Destino. I find this is due in part to the irony that a film about time (Destino literally means Destiny in Spanish) could be left in the dark for over 50 years. After the passing of both Disney and Dali, their brainchild seemed almost fated to be resurrected at the turn of the century to inspire a new generation. Dali and Disney's styles are intricately woven throughout every scene, in perfect symphony, just like their characters. In my opinion the piece seemed unapologetically 'Dali' which made me feel, well - curious (to say the least).

Dali described the tale as, "a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time." And Disney was quoted in regards to the film as saying it was "a simple story about a young girl in search of true love." In June, 2003 Destino premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and was later nominated for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.