He came at the invitation of the famous film director Alfred Hitchcock. The Horror King needed the scenery for his film, but Dalí was furious about the film adaptation of his ideas: instead of pianos suspended from the ceiling were pitiful imitations! Therefore, at the exhibition of his paintings in the Binho gallery, the surrealist also presented the Dalí News “pseudo-newspaper” to the public, where he exposed Hollywood and... announced his upcoming joint project with Walt Disney. The pleasant meeting of the two creators determined the fate of the new idea: their interests coincided.
In the wake of his pioneering work, Fantasy (1940), the animator was carried away by the idea of a synthesis of animation and high art. And Dalí was constantly looking for new opportunities to make his dreams and fantasies come true. Although the artist asked a huge amount for his work, set his conditions for copyright, the contract was signed. Inspired, Dalí talked about creating a “movie in new ways”, in which “...thanks to the skill of Disney, it will be possible to see the clock in motion for the first time”. And things got rolling!
At his disposal got Salvador Dalí a director, animators John Hench and Bob Cormack, and... music. The animation was conceived to use the Destino ballad by Mexican Armando Dominguez, while Dalí was fascinated by the word itself, meaning “destiny”. In Dalí's imagination, its moves were constantly changing, new images and paintings appeared. “A girl walks along a road and... finds herself astride a huge elephant with the legs of an arthropod insect, surrounded by various monsters... We see a pyramid... next to a church floating above a pond formed by two human palms, and two cypress trees grow from them. Naked people ride bicycles around the pond. They all disappear into the pond”, Dalí's words about the future cartoon from his interview with Arts magazine. Some moments reminded of the ideas of many existing Dalí’s paintings — he wanted to revive the work of 1939, Swans Reflecting as Elephants, to include the image of the girl with the skipping rope and other famous paintings. After all, the artist created not a cartoon, but a means of immersion in the personal world of Salvador Dalí's surrealism! Disney, who originally defined Destino as “a usual love story of a girl and a boy,” was overwhelmed by the fantasies and artwork presented by Dalí.
The surrealism of the destiny
The artist created 22 paintings and about 135 sketches, and John Hench prepared an 18-second segment of the cartoon. After World War II, Disney was concerned about the question: will the venture be commercially successful? Alas, eight months after the start of work, the “birth” did not take place: Disney postponed the project for financial reasons. However, the fate of Destino is rich in sharp plot twists. Half a century later, Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy, while working on a new version of the studio’s legendary cartoon, Fantasy—2000, discovered the Dalí’s work in the archives! He also got carried away by the idea to finish the work of the Masters because the originals of the artist’s works will belong to the Disney studio only after the completion of the cartoon, according to the long-standing contract.
The new world on a turtle
Roy Disney was lucky: 95-year-old John Hench, the very Dalí’s associate, could personally work with a team of 25 artists, and there were diaries of Señor Salvador’s wife, Gala, where her husband’s fantasy thoughts were recorded. They used 5 paintings and sketches by Dalí, as well as new artistic works. But the original 18-second scene remained unchanged in the cartoon: viewers, look for the turtles! And finally, in the autumn of 2003, 58 years after the start of the work, the Destino first night took place at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. This was a triumph! The wonderful cartoon has received numerous prestigious awards.
Well, all this fits perfectly with the whims of Destiny, “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time,” as the genius artist defined Destino himself. “I do not believe that Dalí will die. It is simply impossible,” he said.