Remember all those times you have spent in front of the tv, watching one of your favorite Disney movies? There must have been absolutely nothing in this world that mattered more to us when we were children than those animated films. Walt Disney had been in the lives of several children for decades. But what happens when animation meets Surrealism? Surrealists were painters or writers that were apart of a movement where they expressed the creativity of the unconscious mind in their works. Well-known Surrealists, such as Arp, Breton, Ernst, etc, didn’t even get to experience the greatest opportunity to collaborate with one of the most well-known men in America who created the happiest place on Earth; Walt Disney. Surrealist, Salvador Dali, and animator, Walt Disney, collaborated on a new project of an animated film back in 1945, but the thought of the project being completed wasn’t likely, for Disney couldn’t keep Dali employed with $4.3 million dollars that they had to eventually pay back to the Bank of America. These two artists came together to produce a wonderful work of art that would somehow present the minds of Surrealists, but the two artistic, brilliant minds saw the project’s interpretation very differently. “A magical exposition of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” (Dazed) said Dali, which made his words sound of gold, whereas Disney who said the animation was “Just a simple story of a girl in search of her true love” (Dazed). Disney may be an animator, but he is still an artist. Although that statement is true, he has no idea how inaccurate his perspective on the animation is. There are various symbols presented within the entirety of the animation that portrays as something else. It’s somewhat unbelievable to think that Disney didn’t acknowledge the true potential of the animation like Dali did.
Dali and Disney have made one of the most artistic collaborative short films that appealed to both artists and surrealism back in 1945. The project was postponed for fifty-eight years until Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, thought that the project was a magnificent idea, so he arranged several people work with him in secret to remake the original version of the animation. The amount of money that Disney’s nephew was going to pay for the work was $1.5 million, cheaper than what Disney was paying Dali to allow him to work. The only thing that had to be done was to cut the animation short than its intended length, so no one is very sure what the whole story was would have been like, but observers of the animation are aware of the symbolism embedded into it.
Destino, according to Disney, is a simple story about a woman falling in love with a man, but there are several symbols that some observers may haven’t understood, like Disney, that haven’t discovered the true meaning of the animation. Throughout the animated film, the song, Destino, which was originally composed by Armando Dominguez, is sung by Dora Luz. Several people that have observed the film believe that the song within the animation was the main reason for its success. Every great animation must have the best music in it. In the beginning of the animation, the woman that appears is a human, is named Dahlia. The man attached to the pyramid is Chronos, who is the personification of time. She fell in love with him, however, she has no knowledge of spirituality. With that, she pursues a life filled with lust and materialism. The first symbol is the eyes that are on top of the tower that takes the form of a female’s body, which refers to the enlightenment of open reality. When Dahlia’s dress gets caught and gets removed, it symbolizes her losing her virginity, where she then hides in the shell due to shame. Dahlia has done everything she could to gain contact with spiritual matters, but she hasn’t been able to, for the phones have thorns. She was failing to seek redemption until she sees a bell, a religious symbol, which gave her insight to become a virgin once again. Chronos acknowledges her spiritual birth, which causes him to wake to engage Dahlia. When they saw each other, walls began to appear, insinuating that they are of different forms or spectrums. Chronos was a spirit, whereas Dahlia was a mortal. She then decides to give Chronos a chance at being a human for some time. She transforms into a sensual ballerina. He transforms into a bold baseball player. They then get to practice an intimate relationship with one another. When Chronos hit the baseball, making it a home run, symbolized the two having intercourse. The telephones that appear in the sky as clouds insinuated the communication between the two lovers. After the short amount of time Chronos was able to spend as a human, he eventually had to go back to being a god once again, only to have the pure spirit of Dahlia with him for eternity. Does that really sound like a simple love story?
This animation doesn’t even portray to be just a love story between two people. Disney, who would have been viewed as an animation genius, doesn’t seem to show that he is if he just believes the animation is what he interprets it to be. Disney has for sure made wonderful works of art his very own, but knowing what his interpretation of the animation didn’t show any deeper meaning to something he was apart of is a huge shock.
Disney’s perspective of the animation isn’t the greatest as to what Dali thought it to be. Some people who have a passion for art might have thought really negatively of Disney when he said that the story was just about Dahlia seeking true love. He made the animation seem as if it were worth nothing. Although the two artistic minds have created several works that have been seen and referred to on several different occasions, one of the two seems to have a better grasp on what true potential lies behind a work of art. But who is to say that Dali is an amazing artist? There have been several other painters before Dali’s lifetime that may have thought the same thing Disney did if they were given the opportunity to collaborate and interpret the purpose of the artwork. Would that make Dali inaccurate on what he truly believes the meaning of his work, or are the well-known painters before Dali’s time accurate of the fact that what his pieces mean one thing and one thing only?
ArkhamHouse7. “Destino – Walt Disney & Salvador Dalí [1945 – 2003].” YouTube, YouTube, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO8ffgDbM80.
Dazed. “The Secret History of Salvador Dalí’s Disney Film.” Dazed, 2016, http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/32490/1/the-secret-history-of-salvador-dali-s-disney-film.
Popova, Maria. “’Destino’: A Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney Collaboration Circa 1945.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 2011, http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/11/destino-a-salvador-dal-and-walt-disney-collaboration-circa-1945/248920/.