Monday, September 07, 2015

A Date with Destino

Saturday afternoon I attended a talk at the Walt Disney Family Museum about the aborted collaboration between Salvador Dali & Walt Disney. Dali worked at the Disney Studio for 8 months in 1945/46, producing over 150 art works, including 6 paintings, for an animated short called Destino, which was eventually shelved in 1948. Around the time of the production of Fantasia 2000, Roy Disney resurrected Destino as a low-budget, high-prestige project & convinced Paris-based animator Dominique Monféry to create a 5-and-a-half minute film based on Dali's drawings & Disney artist John Hench's original storyboards.

Ted Nicolaou, curator of the museum's current exhibit about Dali, & Dave Bossert, Destino's associate producer, showed slides & told stories of the film's production with warm enthusiasm. Listening to Mr. Bossert, I experienced the vicarious pleasure of hearing someone who really loves his job. He amused the audience with his story of attending the 2003 Oscars & then attempting to take his limo up to the drive-through window of In-N-Out Burger. It was fascinating to learn that Dali's artwork was stolen by a Disney employee in 1969 then recovered from a Long Beach gallery, though a few items are still missing.

The talk concluded with a screening of Destino. Its use of CGI & cross-dissolves instead of full motion animation already looks dated, & the film does not feel like an artifact from the 1940s. It's most authentic element is the sound track, taken from an old LP recording, heard with all its clicks & pops. The scenario is clearly a love story & the imagery recognizably Dali-esque, including clocks, melting faces & ants crawling on a hand. Apparently Dali was interested in American baseball, but when a woman's head turns into a ball which is then batted into the distance by a baseball player, the gesture does not read as romantic. At one point bicyclists with baguettes on their heads appear, but the animators later discovered that the baguettes should have been rocks. The audience of mostly older adults knew a lot about Disney already & made appreciative noises whenever specific Disney lore was mentioned.

§ Talk | A Date with Destino
Ted Nicolaou and Dave Bossert
Sat, Sep 5, 1pm
Walt Disney Family Museum

§ Destino (2003)
Dominique Monféry, dir.
USA, 2003, 7 mins.

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