Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)


(director: Frank Pavich; cinematographer: David Cavallo; editors: Alex Ricciardi, Paul Docherty; music: Kurt Stenzel; cast: Nicolas Winding Refn, Michael Seydoux, Brontis Jodorowsky, Devin Faraci, Dan O’Bannon, Diane O’Bannon, Chris Foss, H.R. Giger, Gary Kurtz, Salvador Dali, Amanda Lear, Richard Stanley; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Travis Stevens/Stephen Scarlata /Frank Pavich; Sony Picture Classics; 2013)

For lovers of visionary films, this one is a gem.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A fascinating documentary about the making of Frank Herbert’s sci-film Dune. A film that was never made by Alexandro Jodorowsky, but eventually by David Lynch (1984) as a big-budget studio film that mostly underwhelmed critics. Director Frank Pavich (“N.Y.H.C.”) tells the story through the embittered eyes of the excitable Chilean-born Alexandro Jodorowsky, who positively proclaims that in 1975 he was on his way to making Dune into a masterpiece but no studio would give him the money because they were afraid of his creative ideas.

In the early 1970s Jodorowsky made El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), popular underground psychedelic surrealist films that played the Midnight Movie circuit.

Dune was to star Jodorowsky’s own son Brontis along with Orson Welles, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali, and with Pink Floyd providing the score,. The art direction was handed over to H.R. Giger and Jean “Moebius” Giraud. The ambitious project included a massive storyboard, that was two years in the making. It is eerie to hear Jodorowsky go into great detail, some 40 years after its cancellation, telling us from the storyboard exactly how the picture would be shot and various inside info on how he got all that talent on board.

The film also includes eye-opening interviews with Dune producer Michel Seydoux, Diane O’Bannon (widow of Dune art contributor Dan O’Bannon), art designer Chris Foss, and Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz.

For lovers of visionary films, this one is a gem. Though one might not be completely taken with Jodorowsky‘s narcissism, one wonders if his Dune would have turned out to be as great as he claims it would have been.