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17 09, 2017

Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014) — Dir. Frank Pavich

By | 2017-09-18T09:59:12+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Categories: #9 THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM|Tags: , , |0 Comments

© 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.

17 09, 2017

American Movie (1999) — Dir. Chris Smith

By | 2017-09-18T09:59:30+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Categories: #9 THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM|Tags: , , |0 Comments

© American Movie — Chris Smith/Sony Pictures Classics

1999, 107 minutes

For all those wondering where the true spirit of independent filmmaking has its source, don’t look any further. A true testament of artistic determination, American Movie follows Mark Borchardt, an unusual filmmaker from Milwaukee, part-delusional character part cinematic-hero, as he crafts his independent horror film ‘Coven’.

Many people could argue Mark is a loser, a man who has spent most of his teens and adult life making unreleased and in some cases unfinished films, who drinks more than he should and relies on the savings of his elderly uncle Bill to continuously finance his dubious projects. And yet, though Mark’s talent is debatable, his drive knows no limits, keeping him afloat even when his production is at the brink of collapse.

Using friends and family as cast and members of the production team (his mother is enlisted as his cinematographer!), he sets off on ‘Coven’, a movie that he hopes will help him finance the project of a lifetime, an epic entitled ‘Northwestern’ about his life. Some of the characters present in the film—Mike Schank, Uncle Bill—add a lot of rawness to the documentary, grounding the stage back to poverty, alcoholism and desperation, but proving once again that even so-called losers can dream.

Ultimately though, the film has a lot of humor and charm, with Chris Smith’s camera lingering just enough to reveal the sympathetic madness within these dreamers’ minds.

17 09, 2017

Lost in la Mancha (2003) — Dir. Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

By | 2017-09-18T09:59:49+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Categories: #9 THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM|Tags: , , |0 Comments

© Lost in La Mancha—Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe/IFC Films

2003, 93 minutes

A must-watch documentary on the brutal hardship one can endure in trying to make a movie, Lost in la Mancha depicts the pre-production and the first six days of production of director Terry Gilliam’s doomed attempt to film “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Surely, the odds were not in Gilliam’s favor; with every day passing, a new barrier of problems seemed to erect, ultimately shutting down the production of the film midway through the second week of the shooting schedule.

From strong winds and heavy downpour ripping apart film sets to the main actor suffering a disastrous back injury, everything that could go wrong is featured in the documentary, originally intended as a simple behind-the-scenes bonus on the DVD box-set.

Required viewing for all those who think making a film is easy!


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