Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)

Director: Frank Pavich
Stars:      Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michael Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Nicolas Winding Refn

The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.

I haven't read 'Dune' or seen David Lynch's adaptation of it. Actually, I saw about twenty minutes of that film before turning it off. It is something Lynch has distanced himself from and in the documentary, Jodorowsky says that he was happy after seeing it because it was atrocious. Jodorowsky teamed up with drawing artists/special effects people like Dan O'Bannon, Moebius, Chris Foss and Giger to create a story board for the film which is literally a cinematographer's view on how to make it. They designed everything keeping in mind the feasibility of realizing it. He had planned to include Pink Floyd and Magma for the music, Orson Welles, Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, Gloria Swanson, Amanda Lear and his own son as actors for the film. They required a total budget of $ 15 million of which they were $5 million short and approached the studios in LA for it. The suits there thought the film was too ambiguous and didn't particularly trust Jodotowsky to helm the project. Ultimately it didn't take off though many in the Jodorowsky worked in other projects like Alien, in which the traces of Dune are evident. As the film puts it, if it was not for Jodorowsky's Dune, Alien would not be the same and that trickles down to Bladerunner and films like Matrix and Prometheus. 

Out of Jodorowky's films I have only seen 'Holy Mountain' so far even though 'El Topo' and 'Santa Sangre' have been on my watch-list for a while. Jodorowsky hadn't made a film for 23 years and after teaming up with Michael Seydoux for the making of this documentary, they made a film again called 'The Dance of Reality' which I am planning to watch. 'Holy Mountain', which was produced by Beatles manager Alan Klein, was totally weird and so out there. Jodorowksy is like more obscure, weirder version of David Lynch and it is evident from the documentary that Jodorowsky also have huge respect for Lynch. 

 It is was good to see Nicolas Winding Refn in the documentary because someone like him could realize Jodorowsky's vision, if not as a feature film maybe on TV with support from someone like HBO. The energy that an 85 year old Jodorowsky exhibits is amazing and I have decided to buy the Frank Herbert book and read it. The claim that Jodorowsky's 'Dune' would have been better than '2001: A Space Odyssey' and that it would have altered the future of Hollywood blockbusters had it released before 'Star Wars' is not that outrageous.

Rating: 4/5