Walt Disney. Salvador Dali. Strange bedfellows? Or kindred spirits?
When we say that two people are strange bedfellows, we mean that we don’t usually connect them in our thinking. The relationship seems odd (unusual or unexpected) to us. Shakespeare used these two words in his play The Tempest to describe two very different characters who, surprisingly, became partners (people who do an activity together).
As a child, Walt Disney loved to draw. The love of drawing led Disney to become an animator – an artist who creates images that give the appearance of movement when they are shown quickly, one after the other. He is the father of Mickey Mouse and all the other well-loved Disney cartoon characters. Before he died in 1966, Disney’s work grew to include award-winning movies and the theme parks, like Disney World, that have brought joy to people from around the world.
Salvador Dali is well-known in the art world, but not as well known as Disney outside of it. Dali, a Spanish painter, lived at about the same time Disney did. Dali is probably the best known of the artists we call surrealists.
Surrealists believed that people put too much emphasis on reason and knowledge, so they created wildly imaginative dream worlds in their art. They put objects together that don’t usually appear together. And they painted common objects in unusual ways. Dali, for example, paints larger-than-life (bigger than you would expect) watches hanging on trees and other objects as if they were laundry (dirty clothing) hanging out to dry after being washed in his famous painting The Persistence of Memory. Many of his paintings, like Persistence, seem to show a great sense of humor and make us smile. Some of his paintings, however, like Christ of St. John of the Cross, are serious works that make us think. I have a copy of it hanging on the wall of my office and often look at it and wonder what exactly Dali was thinking about when he painted it.
A few days ago, I discovered that Disney and Dali collaborated (worked together) on a short film, called Destino, near the end of World War II. Nobody knew about Destino until Disney’s brother Roy found it in 1999. In 2003 Destino was nominated (officially suggested) for an Academy Award (an Oscar).
Destino tells the tragic (sad) love story of Chronos (time as a person), who falls in love with a mortal (human) woman. Disney’s animation brings the two characters to life as they float (move without effort) across Dali’s surrealist landscapes (pictures showing areas of land). The film’s music was written by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez.
I’m fascinated by the different ways the two artists described the film. Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and Disney World, calls it “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.” Dali, the surrealist artist, says it’s a magical display (showing something so it is easy to see) of the problem of life in the labyrinth (something that’s hard to understand and difficult to escape) of time.” I’ll let you decide which it is.
Here are the lyrics (words) of the song; they are repeated (sung again) several times:
Destino, my heart was sad and lonely
in knowing that you only could bring my love to me.
Destino, this heart of mine is thrilled (excited) now.
My empty arms are filled now as they were meant to be.
For you came along (appeared), out a dream I recall (remember).
Yes, you came along to answer my call.
I know now that you are my destino (destiny=future).
We’ll be as one, for we know our destiny of love.
Walt Disney. Salvador Dali. Strange bedfellows? I think not. I think they’re more like kindred spirits (people who share similar beliefs, attitudes, abilities, or feelings). They were creative geniuses (someone with a high level of ability or intelligence) who have made us smile and helped us think differently about life. I think it’s fitting (appropriate) that they worked together to create Destino.
~ Warren Ediger, creator of Successful English, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.