Destino is an animated short film released in 2003 by The Walt Disney Company. Destino is unique in that its production originally began in 1945, 58 years before its eventual completion. The project was a collaboration between American animator Walt Disney and Spanish painter Salvador Dalí, and features music written by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez and performed by Dora Luz. It was included in the Animation Show of Shows in 2003.
Destino (the Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however, financial concerns caused Disney to cease production. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 18 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.
In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company's small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfréy in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench's cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino's production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench's original footage, but it also contains some computer animation. The 18 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises (this original footage is referred to in Bette Midler's host sequence for The Steadfast Tin Soldier in Fantasia 2000, as an "idea that featured baseball as a metaphor for life").
Destino premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal female. The story continues as the female dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings. There is no dialogue, but the soundtrack features a song by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez.
The short film was very well received; it won many awards and was nominated for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.Destino was released theatrically in a very limited release with the film Calendar Girls.
The film was shown as part of the exhibition Dalí & Film at Tate Modern from June to September 2007, as part of the Dalí exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art from October 2007 to January 2008, and at an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called Dalí: Painting and Film from June to September 2008 as well as at an exhibit at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2008. In mid-2009, it had exposure in Melbourne, Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria through the Dalí exhibition Liquid Desire, and from late 2009 through April 2010 at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio, in an exhibit entitled Dalí and Disney: The Art and Animation of Destino.
Joe/Narcissus (Jack Bittner) is an ordinary man who has recently signed a complicated lease on a room. As he wonders how to pay the rent, he discovers that he can see the contents of his mind unfolding whilst looking into his eyes in the mirror. He realises that he can apply his gift to others ("If you can look inside yourself, you can look inside anyone!"), and sets up a business in his room, selling tailor-made dreams to a variety of frustrated and neurotic clients. Each of the seven surrealdream sequences in the diegesis is in fact the creation of a contemporary avant-garde and/or surrealist artist, as follows:
Joe's waiting room is full within minutes of his first day of operation, "the first installment on the 2 billion clients" according to the male narrator in voiceover, whose voice is the only one we hear in the non-dream sequences.
Case number one is Mr and Mrs A. Mr A is a "methodical, exact" bank clerk. His wife "complains [he] has a mind like a double entry column; no virtues, no vices". She wants a dream for him "with practical values to widen his horizons, heighten ambitions, maybe a raise in salary". Joe asks Mrs A to leave the room during Mr A's consultation. Mr A reveals that within his ledger he has a collection of art images cut from magazines, including drawings of a woman reclining in bed; another on an old man's lap; another being shot by an animal-headed man; a filmic image of red liquid passing through water, and another of a melting wax figure of a woman.
Joe "finds a dream" for Mr A based on these interests. In the dream ("Desire") leaves fall to the ground beside a red curtain. A woman in white reclines in a red-curtained four-poster bed. A small golden ball rises and falls from her mouth as she breathes. She swallows the ball, smiles and falls asleep. Bars appear by her bed, and a man watches from behind them as she dreams of nightingales with calves' hooves. It appears the man is part of her dream, and telephones her to ask in voiceover for details. She tells him in voiceover "they talked about love and pleasure". Her telephone falls to the floor and excludes a misty smoke, which envelops her bed.