Anton Sirius has seen Jodorowsky's Dune... well, the doc about it, at least...
Jodorowsky's Dune (2013, directed by Frank Pavich)
Certain films become legends despite the fact that they never get made, or never get seen by audiences as they were intended. Ganz's Napoleon. Welles' Magnificent Ambersons. Welles' Don Quixote. Welles' (insert unfinished Welles project here). Lewis' The Day The Clown Cried. And, of course, Jodorowsky's Dune, a film that would have been a hallucinatory epic the likes of which humanity had never seen, and probably at this point never will see.
Pavich's doc does a fantastic job of setting the stage for Jodorowsky's attempt to change the direction of cinema. Coming off the relative box office successes of El Topo and The Holy Mountain, Jodorowsky was given carte blanche to do anything he wanted by his producers. He picked an adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune, despite the fact that a) he hadn't read it (someone had just told it was cool), and b) it was considered unfilmable, especially given the state of the industry in 1975. In service to his vision of a new kind of science fiction, and provide “an LSD trip without needing to take LSD”, Jodorowsky set out to recruit a cadre of artist and 'holy warriors' to assist him in the look and design of the film: Moebius, Dan O'Bannon (after a meeting with Douglas Trumbull goes poorly), H.R. Giger and Chris Foss. His desired cast includes a ludicrous array of stars including Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali, and different rock bands, among them Pink Floyd, were enlisted to compose music for each of the different main planets in the story. His script even anticipated future developments in Herbert's Dune series, as it ended with the greening of Arrakis.
Of course, the movie never got out of pre-production. How could it? In the mid-1970s the idea of a huge science fiction epic costing millions wasn't exactly anathema, as 2001 made a lot of money, but this would be the polar opposite of Kubrick's cold, clinical sci-fi. And it'd be a couple of years yet before some George Lucas kid paved the way for the modern blockbuster. What makes Jodorowsky's Dune such a treat to watch is that it doesn't focus on the project's failure, but rather its successes. Ideas and images produced by that alchemical collision of talent and creativity became a part of the collective subconscious of the entire cinematic science fiction community. Without Jodorowsky to assemble his company of holy warriors, O'Bannon and Giger never get together for Alien, and designs the sinister Swiss genius originally created for Dune would never have shown up in Prometheus. Similar lineages can be traces back to Dune from a hundred different directions. Like the country and culture of Uqbar in Borges' “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, Jodorowsky and his conspirators created a fiction so compelling and powerful that it slowly leaked out into reality and influenced an entire genre despite the fact that it never actually existed.
Even aside from its telling of an important, overlooked chapter in film history, Jodorowsky's Dune is worth watching just for the chance to spend some time with one of cinema's most charming madmen. Jodorowsky is as full of the joy of life as always, and seeing him reminisce about the project makes you want to grab a camera, run out and shoot the craziest thing you can think of.
Pure, unfiltered creativity is contagious, and dangerous, and it suffuses every frame of the doc. You've been warned.
Follow me, and give me audience friends. Cassius, go you onto Twitter. @AntonSirius
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
- Robin Williams May Return As Mrs. Doubtfire! -- 164 total posts 115 posts
- Who wants to see one of GODZILLA's opponents from the new film!?! (In toy form) -- 247 total posts 87 posts
- Set photos from the set of STAR WARS EPISODE VII in Abu Dhabi?! What's that big round disc they're rolling around?? -- 224 total posts 65 posts
- There's some cross-promotion going on in the credits of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and it's not hinting at what you think! -- 84 total posts 39 posts
- Re-Revised X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Casting Re-Adds A Mutant!! -- 154 total posts 35 posts
- Denzel Washington Walks In The Middle Of The Street In THE EQUALIZER Teaser Poster! -- 59 total posts 29 posts
- Some Wicked Cool Stills For The Upcoming BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT Game!! -- 176 total posts 28 posts
- Stallone Talks EXPENDABLES Casting Approach!! Nicholson!?!? -- 262 total posts 19 posts
- AICN debuts the official poster for the stoner, doomsday, psychotic freak out film DON PEYOTE, starring, written and directed by Don Fogler!!! -- 18 total posts 18 posts
- Trailer for IF I STAY, Starring Chloe Grace Moretz! -- 72 total posts 17 posts