Autumn 2014 Documentary series
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 7:00pm
Directed by Frank Pavich
Starring Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, and Alejandro Jodorowsky
Rated PG ·
France / USA
Spanish, German, French, and English
This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: Chilean cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune. In 1975, following the runaway success of his art-house freak-outs El Topo and Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to Dune―and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Jodorowsky enlisted an elite group of artistic mercenaries, including French comic book artist Moebius, who illustrated the storyboards; screenwriter Dan O’Bannon (Dark Star Alien); artist H.R. Giger (Alien); and sci-fi paperback illustrator Chris Foss. For the cast, he lined up icons ranging from Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger to Orson Welles, and even his own son, who was put through two years of gruelling martial arts training to prepare for his role. Unfortunately, the film was never made.
Director Frank Pavich tackles one of cinema’s most enthralling “what could have been” stories, weaving interviews with the charismatic Jodorowsky, his collaborators, and supporters (including Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn), together with animation to bring Moebius’ storyboards to life. Even though the project exists only in the imaginations of its creators, and as the hundreds of illustrations they left behind, Pavich’s documentary chooses not to dwell on failure, but rather celebrates the ways in which the creative dreams of Dune planted seeds for many other iconic films that came after it, from Star Wars to Alien to countless more. This is an inspirational story about the power of the creative spirit, one that establishes Jodorowsky as a master of cinema and a true visionary of our time.
“Herbert’s tale is twisted into a barely recognizable rush of pretentions made entertaining by Jodorowsky’s glee in describing them. At age 85 he remains a madman with immense personality, a pinhole visionary insisting his Dune would be a prophecy shaping generations. Jodorowsky’s Dune makes a viewer wish he’d gotten the chance.” (Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times)
“Director Pavich, his first time at bat, has crafted an unalloyed pleasure of a documentary, especially for those of us who care about Dune, about sci-fi, and about the value and power of creative passion.” (Jessica Kiang, The Playlist)
“In retrospect, it’s obvious why the film was never produced: The director was a lunatic.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)