“Jodorowsky’s Dune” is a documentary film directed by Frank Pavich. The film explores Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious and unsuccessful attempt to adapt and film Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel “Dune” in the mid-1970s. In 1973, film producer Arthur P. Jacobs optioned the film rights to “Dune” but died before a film could be developed. The option was then taken over two years later by director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who proceeded to approach, among others, Virgin Records, with the prog rock groups Tangerine Dream, Gong and Mike Oldfield before settling on Pink Floyd and Magma for some of the music; artists H. R. Giger, Chris Foss and Jean Giraud for set and character design; Dan O’Bannon for special effects; and Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, Amanda Lear, and others for the cast. Herbert traveled to Europe in 1976 to find that $2 million of the $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and that Jodorowsky’s script would result in a 14-hour film (“It was the size of a phonebook”, Herbert later recalled). Jodorowsky took creative liberties with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an amicable relationship. The project ultimately stalled for financial reasons. The film rights lapsed until 1982, when they were purchased by Italian filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis, who eventually released the 1984 film “Dune”, directed by David Lynch. The film notes that Jodorowsky’s script, extensive storyboards and concept art were sent to all major film studios, and suggests that these were inspirational to later film productions, including the Star Wars series, Contact and Prometheus. “It was a great undertaking to do the script,” Jodorosky says in the film. “It’s very, it’s like Proust, I compare it to great literature.” The film has received critical acclaim. Variety called the film a “mind-blowing cult movie” and said that director Pavich “happens upon a compelling theory: that even in its still-born form, the film manifested the sort of collective conscious that Jodorowsky was trying to peddle through its plot, trickling down to influence other sci-fi films that followed”. The Hollywood Reporter declared the “entertaining documentary makes the case for this overblown epic as a legendary lost masterpiece”.

“Jodorowsky’s Dune” shows us an in depth and fascinating insight into Jodorowsky’s vision of how “Dune” should´ve been on the screen if Jodorowsky would´ve managed to get it made. One might say he was a bit overambitious and it´s quite clear that Jodorowsky possessed a pretty big ego at the time in the mid 70s. He tried and he failed making his vision of “Dune” and it ended up as a lost sci-fi legend in the industry. One can only reflect and imagine how it would have looked like and with this documentary you are a step closer to be able to visualise it. I do like that his vison was of such an extent that he was able to handpick heavy players such as H.R. Giger and Moebius. If you know of the book and David Lynch´s movie version this is for sure a documentary you should see. (4 out of 5)

jodorowskys-dune-poster