Sunday, 1 September 2013

(19) Short Film Sunday #6: Destino (2003)

Destino (2003).

Destino (2003) is collaborative work between Salvador Dalí, Walt Disney and Disney Studio artist John Hench. Although the project started in 1946 (a year after Dalí and Hitchcock's collaboration on Spellbound (1945)) it only saw daylight in 2003. Some say that Disney approached the famous surrealist Dalí because of criticism that Disney Studio received, that it sacrificed art and inventiveness over marketability, that is, Disney Studio preferred a safer way of doing things. There was no convincing needed on Dalí's side, he quickly started to sketch, draw and make the first storyboards. However, 8 months into producing, the project was cancelled due to financial problems, nevertheless, Dalí and Disney stayed lifelong friends. From their short collaboration only a 17 second long demo reel survives alongside several sketches, drawings and storyboards. 
Destino was forgotten until the Disney Studio started their work on Fantasia (1940) sequel Fantasia/2000 (1999), both of which are richly inspired by surrealism. Fantasia/2000 inspired Roy Edward Disney to re-start and finish Dalí and Disney's project. By using Dalí's notes and storyboards and a little bit of help from Hench himself, the six minute animation was brought to life and finally saw daylight being premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2003. Although, they tried to keep it as close as possible to the original Dalí work, using some  original methods of animation, there is a sense of modernity and modern animation techniques, so in the end it is a Disney Studio work inspired by Dalí, Hench and Disney's collaboration back in 1946. However, the 17 seconds long original footage is a part of the final project, it is the bit where two turtles moves towards each other. Destino won several awards and was also nominated for the Academy Awards as the Best Animated Short Film. The musical score of the animation is composed by Armando Dominguez and performed by Dora Luz.
"Destino" from Spanish means "destiny", and so Destino tells a tragic love story of Chronos (the personification of time) who falls in love with a mortal woman and as in love stories there is a complication, that being, they cannot be together. The animation depicts different transformations as they dance over the surrealistic landscapes of Dalí's paintings.
Dalí described Destino as, "A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time." In juxtaposition to that, Disney described it as, "A simple story about a young girl in search of true love."
No matter, it is a masterpiece, which more than half a century ago was born in the minds of two geniuses, and an enjoyable treat for a Sunday evening.

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