Sunday, October 19, 2014
Directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky’s Dune is the story about French-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to create a film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune to the big screen in the 1970s. The documentary reveals many of Jodorowsky’s ideas that really paved the way for a lot of the future sci-fi films to come and how the project fell apart as Jodorowsky reveals what happened. The result is one of the fascinating stories about one of the greatest films that never got made.
The film explores Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to transform Frank Herbert’s novel Dune into a feature film as Jodorowsky had gained some success as a cult filmmaker with two out-of-this-world film in El Topo and The Holy Mountain. The success of the latter gave him carte blanche to create anything he wanted as Jodorowsky wanted to do Dune with the help of French producer Michel Seydoux. The ambitious ideas that Jodorowsky had for the film were beyond anything imaginable as the documentary showcase many of the ideas that Jodorowsky. With the contributions of the late artist Jean “Moebius” Girard and the late visual effects designer Dan O’Bannon as well as artist Chris Foss, the visual ideas that Jodorowsky would have were grand.
Even the ideas for the film’s music were bold as Jodorowsky wanted the French band Magma and Pink Floyd to contribute while the casting was also insane as it would include Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, model Amanda Lear, Orson Welles, David Carradine, and Jodorowsky’s son Brontis in the lead role of Paul Atreides. Frank Pavich would do many of the interviews in a very simple and direct way while letting the film clips from other films as well as animated storyboards to showcase what Jodorowsky wanted. Many of the drawings that Moebius, Foss, and the late H.G. Giger created weren’t just ahead of its time but through the animation of Syd Garon and 3D animator Paul Griswold. It showcased something that would’ve changed cinema itself.
With the help of cinematographer David Cavallo, editors Paul Docherty and Alex Riccardi, and sound editor Jesse Flower-Ambroch, Pavich would create a documentary that didn‘t just explore a lot about what Jodorowsky wanted but how the people who would collaborate with him were in tune with what he wanted. Filmmakers Richard Stanley and Nicolas Winding Refn revealed that Jodorowsky was so ahead of his time as many of the ideas he put in towards the film would set the seeds for many ideas in the years to come as Refn believed that everything with modern sci-fi begins with this unmade film. Refn also believes that the reason the film was never made because Hollywood was afraid of Jodorowsky and what he wanted to do.
Of the people interviewed, Jodorowsky is clearly the star as his enthusiasm is really fun to watch as it proves that age is nothing but a number. With the film’s music by Kurt Stenzel that is largely an electronic-based score to play into the sci-fi tone of the film. Pavich creates something that has a lot of energy but also some melancholia since Jodorowsky never got the chance to make his dream film though he was pleased to see that he did make an impact as it led to a reunion between himself and Michel Seydoux for 2013’s The Dance of Reality which was considered a comeback film for the director.
Jodorowsky’s Dune is a phenomenal film from Frank Pavich about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to make Frank Herbert’s novel into a true cinematic event. It’s a documentary that showcases what could’ve been as well as the impact the unmade film would have on many films as well as Jodorowsky’s own reaction to the eventual film version by David Lynch. In the end, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a spectacular film from Frank Pavich.
Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - Fando y Lis - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - (Endless Poetry) - (Psychomagic)
Related: Dune (1984 film) - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky - Dune-Part One (2021 film)
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