July 5, 2016

Destino: A 6-Minute, Must-See Short Film by Walt Disney & Salvador Dalí.

dali pic

Like me, you may find allure in the eerie works of Salvador Dalí. It’s also statistically probable that we’ve grown our strong teeth, bones and expectations of love on Walt Disney movies, the other mother’s milk of our childhoods.

But what I did not know was that the two men had worked together, and been friends for many years. They met at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, almost a decade before initiating the first stages of this six-minute animated piece called Destino, featured below. Destino was storyboarded by legendary Disney animator, John Hench.

They were unable to complete the project due to financial stress during World War II. Luckily, almost 53 years later, in 1999, the storyboard was unearthed by Disney’s nephew, Roy. The project was resuscitated by Disney Studios in France. It premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The film was nominated for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

So, really, we’ve been waiting to watch these six minutes of captivating art for a little longer than we’ve suspected.

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, what’s it all about?

There will be as many interpretations as there are people. Such is the beauty of art—it cannot stand on its own, but becomes a conversation with the observer. It’s a compelling piece that taps into deep archetypal elements of the psyche, and is strewn with symbolic imagery of the gods and goddesses within. The story goes that it’s inspired by the tale of Chronos, Grecian God of Time, who fell in love with a mortal woman named Dahlia. An archetypal story of ill-fated love from our own human experience.

Despite its other-worldliness, I expect most of us find ourselves somewhere in this “Dance with Destiny.”

I am captivated. I may fail to do this justice with my limited capacity for words, but I will try.

This is my loose interpretation; you can fill in the gaps:

Woman, born of a union between mountain and ether, from a mirage in the desert. She finds man cast in stone and takes him into her heart. Though his exterior remains motionless, inwardly, he begins to stir.

Each of us come to life in our own time, expressing the essence of our birth. Man, hewn from sturdy rock. Woman, a shimmering dance between light and shadow.

We journey as the “not-self,” winnowing into awakening. And, behold! Such life and curiosity! Woman’s innate joie de vivre fills her with resourcefulness, creativity, and beauty. Man’s energy is strong and powerful, and packs a punch. Yet he longs for the touch that shook him into awakening. His heart is a hummingbird—light, quick and fragile.

Eyes brim up with emotion, piercing my heart with subtle undertones: We feel the other, but cannot reach them.

Our wild-ish feminine and grounded masculine energies search for one another. Both within, and in the other.

We watch our protagonists explore their world. Emotive eyes and gestures—our heart’s desires for one another are communicated without words. Our garment of innocence is taken from us. The self is lost and found in free fall. We’re vulnerable, but we become okay with that.

All the while, the other is always felt. Lost and found and lost again. Always missing from us. Slipping from our grasp. Sometimes, we find ourselves on the tip of discovery, but never quite make it into each other’s arms.

We become fluid in our experience of light and shadow. Expressive in our movements between freedom and entrapment. Spirit and flesh. Time, and timelessness. Anxiety and assuredness.

A tension lives in the unconscious undertow that yearns for a soul mate, but never quite reaches them. Though they are carved into our hearts. A depiction of our curiosity. Loneliness, and independence. This beautiful, evocative piece is set to a resonant pitch, stirring our own awakening, with a compelling heart beat that winds its way into our senses.


Destino – Walt Disney & Salvador Dali from Vangogen on Vimeo.


Author: Cat Simmons

Image: Video Still

Editors: Emily Bartran; Travis May


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