© Jodorowsky’s Dune — Frank Pavich/Sony Pictures Classics
2014, 90 minutes
Controversial director of the avant-garde classics ‘El Topo’ and ‘The Holy Mountain’, Alejandro Jodorowsky had imagined Dune as a “cinematic god” with the power to induce LSD-like hallucinations, a spiritual film that would radically transform our perspective on life and art. We know of course he did not succeed in bringing Frank Herbert’s novel ‘Dune’ to the screen. And though Dune got to be adapted by David Lynch—with a release in 1984—the movie lacked almost all of what made the project so intriguing in the first place, nearly destroying Lynch’s career in the process.
Galvanized by the unexpected international success of The Holy Mountain, then-26 year-old producer Michel Seydoux had given free rein to Jodorowsky for the development of Dune, his most ambitious project yet. And so the spiritual and creative journey began, an adventure that would last a few years before finishing as abruptly as it had began, shut down by a studio-system unable to conceive what the return-on-investment of this costly project would be.
Jodorowsky had sparred no efforts in the development of the film, surrounding himself with the people that would eventually end up shaping sci-fi cinema as we now know it (Jean ‘Moebius’ Girard, Dan O’Bannon, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss), and casting for the film some of the most brilliant minds and performers of the time (David Carradine, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, with music by Pink Floyd). Jodoroswky’s son even was enlisted in the film, and had to train for several hours a day starting at age 12 to become an expert of the martial arts.
As we see in the documentary, Jodorowsky had put no limits for what he considered to be a masterpiece in the making. One might regret that the documentary’s form, with its plain talking head interviews and cutaway images of the film’s concept art, does not match in scale the grandiosity of Jodorowsky’s vision for Dune. But other than that, Jodorowsky’s Dune is flawless and a recommended viewing for any cinema enthusiast.