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In 1975, director Alejandro Jodorowsky began work on his most ambitious project yet. Starring his own 12-year-old son alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dalí, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, including H.R. Giger and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel DUNE was poised to change cinema forever. Through interviews with legends and luminaries including H.R. Giger (artist, ALIEN), Gary Kurtz (producer, STAR WARS EPISODES IV ' V) and Nicolas Winding Refn (director, DRIVE), and an intimate and honest conversation with Jodorowsky, director Frank Pavich’s film finally unearths the full saga of ‘The Greatest Movie Never Made’.
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As I was watching though this, I was interested but the interviews with the director went on a little too much and it was a bit hard to stay engaged with his over exuberant extolling of his concepts for the film, art direction, concept art, and actors - it all seemed like a stretch and frankly didn't really connect with me.
But - at the end of the documentary, it shifts gears to talk about how many of those ideas I didn't connect with - coming from the directory's own manic, confusing though enjoyable explanations - were later adopted into so many different movies. And it's not as simple as "HR Geiger because famous for Alien..", it shows how specific shots and sequences Jodorowsky had visualized in his own mind and story boarded later were adopted almost frame for frame by other directors in other movies. It made me realize, to a degree, why I never ended up an artistic field, and gave me an vastly increased respect for Jodorowsky, Geiger, Foss, and Moebius. It's not something I would watch twice, but if you are interested in any of the main players in the documentary, or the Dune books, I'd strongly recommend to give it a watch!
This documentary is Jodorowsky and the men who tried to make Dune looking back and commenting and describing the process and it's fascinating. From how he tortured his son into 6 hour training periods, 6 days a week to "become" the character of Paul for 2 years to how he finessed the 400 pound Orson Welles to play the character of the Baron by promising to hire his favorite French chef to cater his meals on set. It's absolutely mesmerizing for the Jodorowsky fan, which I am. Required viewing. Of course, in the end, after all the shucking and jiving, the millions spent on traveling the world scouring for talent, the hours and hours spent creating the story board, Hollywood canceled the whole thing and then went on to borrow his ideas for films like Star Wars, Contact and Prometheus. And then, of course, we wouldn't even have Alien if it wasn't for Jodorowsky's Dune. So God bless him.
I will never, ever again be afraid to fail after seeing this film and that is it's message, in the end.
One thing that was genius was getting H.R. Giger to design the visual theme of House Harkonnen. Herbert sets Harkonnens up as a morally corrupt and vile society, where a single scene describes slavery, attempted patricide and directly implied deviant acts against children. Lynch demonstrated their corruption through physical deformity and a complete and blatant disregard for human life. I think Giger's visual style was an ideal selection to represent the inhumanity of the Harkonnens.