Review: ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ 6.5.14

A fascinating documentary of one of the most important art house auteurs, who in the late sixties and seventies put out a string of films (‘El Topo’ and ‘Holy Mountain’ being his most notable) that changed the film making landscape at the time, and who longed to make Frank Hubert’s Science Fiction classic novel ‘Dune’, into a feature length film. This is a reflection and a look back into what “might have been”. Jodorowsky collected some of the world’s best artists of the time – Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, and Orson Welles to star (what?!), H.R. Giger in the art/production design department (who went on craft the Alien for their franchise), to tapping Pink Floyd to do the soundtrack, Dan O’Bannon to write (who also later went on to write the screenplay for ‘Alien’), etc. He basically collected the best of the best of the world’s artists, only to wind up getting caught up in “development hell”, having done everything right that one must go through in pre-production, only to have the studios bail on him for being “too original” and “too innovative”. Then have his dream and passion project stripped away and given to David Lynch to direct, who even Jodorowsky will admit is a genius but made one of the most beloved Science Fiction book-to-screen adaptations into one of the biggest box office bombs of the 80’s. Now at 84, he reflects back on the experience and what that whole process was like for him. A true inspiration to an artist and/or anyone in general, he sums it all up to the fact that at least he “tried” to pursue his life long dream, which is the best thing one can aspire to in this lifetime. An incredibly well constructed documentary, one that moves along at a brisk pace, and moreover, taught me a ton of how the studio system favors studio heads and producers over the actual creators, this is already turning out to be one of the best documentaries I’ve seen so far this year. And, one that hopefully picks up a much deserved Oscar nomination for the Academy in that same category come next year.

Grade: A-/A

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