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If it had been made, perhaps it would have been much weirder than the David Lynch version!
MartinHafer9 February 2021
This documentary is about the making of the movie "Dune". No, not the 1984 mess of a film and financial disaster helmed by David Lynch, but an earlier version by the surrealist director, Alejandro Jodorowsky...a version that never ended up being made.

The film gathers together the surviving members of the production crew to talk about the Jodorowsky version and how great it might have been. And, through the course of this film, you see many of the story boards, concept art and more.

As I watched this film, I couldn't help but think that if the Jodorowsky movie had been made, it probably would have been much weirder, much more violent* and much more confusing than the Lynch version. The Lynch film was mostly confusing because it was cut to pieces and should have been at least a 3-4 hour movie. The Jodorowsky version, in contrast, would have been so surreal as to make Lynch seem like an ordinary filmmaker! So, while everyone associated with this project thought the movie would have been great, I just have no idea WHO would have actually gone to see it...especially since Jodorowsky wanted to make a 12-20 hour film AND completely re-write the ending, in which Paul would die! I just can't see the fans wanting to see this...especially when in this documentary Jodorowsky talked about wanting to 'rape Frank Herbert" (not in a literal sense)!

It's a fascinating film where you get to follow Jodorowsky's thinking and the steps taken to try to get the film made. However, I cannot see this as a 'masterpiece' as some have said. First, it never got how can it be a masterpiece? Second, while it could have been an amazing film (who knows?), it also might easily have been one of the biggest debacles in movie history, though the chances of the film being made seem insanely remote as you watch the documentary.

Overall, the documentary was fascinating and well worth seeing....the "Dune" project, however, sounded like a nutty gamble to say the least!

*If you don't think the film would have been uber-violent, watch Jodorowsky's "El Topo" and listen to some of the ideas the filmmaker wanted to incorporate into the movie (castration, dismemberment, etc.).
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The Movie That Never Was
Michael_Elliott3 January 2016
Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)

**** (out of 4)

Have you seen Alejandro Jodorowsky's DUNE? Of course you haven't because sadly it was never made but this documentary gives you a great idea of what it would have been like. Director Jodorowsky is interviewed as he discusses his early films and why he then wanted to make Dune even though he hadn't actually read the book. From here we learn about the pre-production, which included getting Pink Floyd on-board for the soundtrack and David Carradine for the main role.

JODOROWSKY'S DUNE is a terrific little documentary that gives one a great idea of what the movie would have been like if it was made. The film goes into great detail about what the look of the film would have been like as well as giving you a great idea of why it might not have been possible even if they had turned the movie cameras on. As one person says, this was two years from STAR WARS yet Jodorowsky was wanting to do stuff that wouldn't even have been possible twenty years from then. If you're a fan of the director or just filmmaking in general then this is a must see.
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Sycophantic, miserably off-target salute to yet another so-called "visionary"
lor_22 April 2016
"Visionary" is the most misused term in film circles of late, thrown around by idiots who wouldn't know a D.W. Griffith film from a Warhol. Such is the fate of Alexandro (proper spelling) Jodorowsky, a darling of cultists.

Unlike the particularly lame set of experts rounded up here (fan boys as film critics and untalented film directors Richard Stanley and Nicolas Winding Refn), I was a film buff in the '60s and '70s and properly placed Alexandro's work ("El Topo", "Fando & Lis", "The Holy Mountain") in the context of his betters: Glauber Rocha from Brazil and the fabulous European surrealist Arrabal.

Frank Pavich who directed this documentary fails to mention even in passing that "Fando and Lis" was adapted by AJ from a play by Arrabal. "Viva la Muerte!" by Arrabal was just as influential a midnight movie at the outset of the '70s as AJ's "El Topo", and all the art-house directors of that era owed plenty to the innovations of Rocha in a series of films from which "Antonio das Mortes" stood out, and would still be a reference point if folks did their homework.

In covering AJ's work this documentary is incomplete and misleading. The most famous anecdote regarding "The Holy Mountain" concerns star Dennis Hopper going crazy during filming and leaving the set, forcing AJ to replace him. Nowhere is that level of historical research encountered here.

Instead we have AJ pontificating, gesticulating, and basically acting the part of "the mad genius" for Pavich's camera. This routine, favored by Werner Herzog in recent decades gets old in a hurry and made watching "J's 'Dune" a real chore. I interviewed Terry Gilliam in 1981 in Manhattan on his promo junket for the release of "The Time Bandits" and he behaved in person one-on-one quite similar to the way Jodo acts here. Both men are so full of enthusiasm and passion concerning making movies that they literally seem about to blow a gasket at any moment.

Both Jodorowsky and Gilliam have become famous over the years for the outlandishness (and scale) of their projects, and their becoming folk heroes by going Don Quixote-like up against the windmills/giants of the Film Establishment, i.e., the guys who hold the purse-strings.

Much is made here of Hollywood's inability to see the power of AJ's meticulously (and permanently) enshrined shooting script that is bound in hardback the size of an unexpurgated Webster's dictionary. Both he and Gilliam seem to have a mental block against recognizing the difference between making a large-scale, say mature David Lean- scale, movie and writing the Great American Novel or crafting the ultimate Broadway Play. Self-appointed "visionaries" need not apply - only fools like Bob Guccione and his "most expensive porn film of all time" Caligula can do that. Artists like these should sensibly follow in the footsteps of avant-garde filmmakers, Maya Deren, Ed Emshwiller, Stan Brakhage and Stan Vanderbeek: create independent, no-budget, uncompromising underground cinema. Leave the $200,000,000 projects to hacks like Michael Bay.

It was Dino De Laurentiis (along with Joseph E. Levine and Alexander Salkind) who initiated the era of big-budgets we currently live with: back when Dune by AJ was being worked on and shopped the entire film industry was functioning under very tight budgetary restrictions following the near-collapse of the studios in 1969: no film in the '70s was being green-lighted with a budget as high as $15,000,000, which Dune would entail.

For the record, it was 1976 when Levine's "A Bridge Too Far", Dino's "King Kong" and Salkind's "Superman" were independently produced at much higher budgets, opening the floodgates. And not coincidentally it was Dino, through his daughter, who ended up producing the David Lynch flop of "Dune".

So the doc's argument about AJ's war with stupid studio execs is completely off- base and ignorantly presented -their hands were tied at that time.

Worse than that, the movie's implication about the power and influence of AJ's Dune, even without it being made, is 180 degrees off the mark. Sure, we see trotted out a who's who of ultra-creative talent that was working on preparing the movie: Giger, Moebius, O'Bannon, even hangers-on like Welles and Dali. Ridley Scott is rightly shown to be the chief recipient of the fruits of their labors -going from the promising art-house director of "The Duellists" to fame and fortune (via hiring AJ's technicians) with increasingly bigger- canvas epics like "Alien", "Blade Runner" and ultimately "Gladiator" and many others all of which not coincidentally resemble the '60s epics that sank Hollywood's fortunes and led to that moratorium on big-budget projects in the first place.

The legacy of this unfinished film is not launching top technical and creative talent in a host of blockbusters but rather the industry's ongoing fascination with flashy, mindless crap, currently emblazoned by the application of 3-D (a tarnished medium from the early '50s) to so many pictures as well as fake IMAX (not using the IMAX photographic system) to market the junk.

What Pavich presents as AJ's strengths are in fact his fatal flaws. Rounding up the top talent - it seems like he has the Midas touch in finding the best in each field, does not disguise the obvious fact that had he actually been able to make "Dune", AJ would be calling all the shots, like a Robert Rodriguez (writer/director/cameraman/editor). Evidence of this creeps into the doc with the segment dealing with Doug Trumbull, who is sloughed off as arrogant or not a team player when AJ rejects his participation out of hand, when in fact it is obvious that AJ is the arrogant s.o.b., not Doug.

AJ would have a firmer and more legitimate place in film history had he remained independent and tackled smaller-scale films that expressed exactly what he wanted to say, a la the models of Jim Jarmusch or Woody Allen.
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gavin694223 February 2015
The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal science fiction novel.

This is the missing link of science fiction history. Between 1960 and 1980, the world of science fiction evolved from cheesy robots and mad scientists to something far more visionary. Other given credit are "Alien", "2001", "Star Wars" and others... but perhaps it was this film that never got made.

H.R. Giger? Dan O'Bannon? Orson Welles? This is an incredible story, and really bridges a gap. Those watching "Dark Star" today (2015) might think it is a rather silly film, but put back into tits context and influence, it may be a much bigger piece of history than many think. How big would "Dune" have been?
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Even unmade, still influential
BandSAboutMovies15 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"My ambition with Dune was tremendous. So, what I wanted was to create a prophet. I want to create a prophet... to change the young minds of all the world. For me, Dune will be the coming of a god." With those words, Alejandro Jodorowsky starts our journey toward Dune.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a force of nature. The creator of El Topo and The Holy Mountain faced a new challenge: he wanted to adapt Frank Herbert's novel for the screen. Never mind that Hollywood studios said that this movie had to be under two hours. Jodorowsky wanted his to be fifteen.

He'd also never read the source material, but he didn't let that stop his journey toward creative nirvana. In fact, he planned numerous changes that Herbert hated, like turning the book's spice (in the books, this is the most essential and valuable commodity available, a drug that gives the user a longer life span, more vitality and heightened awareness) into a blue sponge.

He and Jean "Moebius" Giraud storyboarded every single frame of the film in a gigantic bound book before one shot was lensed. And there was also a team of artists and special effects technicians ready to bring the book to life, including H.R. Giger, Chris Foss and Dan O'Bannon. It's no accident that this team would go on to create Alien or that the design sense of this unfilmed Dune would be part of the look of Star Wars, as Jodorowsky claims that the storyboard was circulated throughout Hollywood (O'Bannon worked on the computer animation and graphic displays for Lucas' film).

The cast of the film would have been borderline insane: Salvador Dalí as the Emperor (sitting on a throne where he would urinate and defecate into porcelain swans while making more money that Marlon Brando did for Superman), Brontis Jodorowsky as the hero of the story Paul, Orson Welles as the Baron (paid by having his favorite French chef on set at all times), David Carradine as Duke Leto and Gloria Swanson as the Reverend Mother. Each house in the film would have its own soundtrack, with Pink Floyd as the heroic House of Atreides and Magma as the House of Harkonnen.

That said, a $15 million dollar 15-hour movie in 1975 is a ludicrous notion. Yet if anyone could do it, argues this film, this was the team to beat the Hollywood odds. They didn't. And perhaps if they had succeeded, as Nicolas Winding Refn wonders in the opening of the film, perhaps the blockbuster world that Star Wars wrought -- and the end of the New Hollywood -- would never have happened.

This documentary has an intriguing theory: Even thought Jodorowsky never made Dune, the film was as influential on future science fiction as if it would have been really made. Its creator's dream of changing consciousness was a success. You can see its influence everywhere. Can you win while losing?
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The Exuberant Eye
tedg7 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I am glad the man is alive and still making films, though they don't drive my soul the way some work does. I like that he is aware of parallel narratives, is visual and fearless. His notions of sex and oppression are decoupled from the physical, and that is remarkable.

For my taste, his notion of narrative is less full of irrepressible need and more of butterflies. And they all have to rely on connectives he keeps in his imagination.

So many years ago when I heard of the rumored Dune project, well, I was interested. If he indeed tapped that material, his weaknesses would be covered, because the whole Dune series is one that well integrates the spiritual, political and personal (meaning individual drive).

Now I learn that he roped in the artistic team that later went on to give Alien its edge. And Welles! Also some simple but then famous celebrities were cast in some roles. Seeing the thin excess he put together in his storyboards, I believe the thing would have been a mess.

But now here we have this remarkably well made documentary that gives the film more value than it ever could have had! We have that almost film in many still images. We have the memory of the original book, still strong in many of us.

We have the outer wrapper of an excellent filmmaker in putting the thing together as a narrative.

And we have Jodorowsky's telling, as if the film were not a project but a child destined to become Jesus.

This manifold narrative is really effective, and the film grows and grows in importance as if it were a fictional but hardly understood celestial character. Destroying the film — he says near the end — gave it more power than it could have had.

As much power as spice flowing through urge without image.
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Self-Sacrficial Director and His Quest to Make a Mind Expanding Movie
LeonLouisRicci4 October 2014
Calling All Film Buffs, Mad Men, and Lovers of the Avant-Garde, this Documentary is about Alejandro Jodorowsky and His Quest to Make a Movie called Dune from the Book by Frank Herbert, a Work of Mammoth Proportion and Extreme Importance. The Time is 1974 and Big Budget Sci-Fi Cinema was Shunned, Despite the Commercial Success of Kubrick's Odyssey (considered an anomaly).

Despite an Enormously Detailed Pre-Production Storyboard, Extremely Talented Crew On Board with the Likes of Dan O'Bannon, Artists Chris Foss and H.R. Giger, Orson Welles, Salvador Dali, David Carradine, Pink Floyd and Others, the Film Never Got Green Lighted and this is that Story.

The Disappointing Trek to Hollywood that the Director Embarked On is Detailed here by the Man Himself with Help from the Producer, and Interviews with Fans like Director Nicolas Winding Refn, Giger, Foss, and Others.

This Documentary is Inspirational and the Passion of Jodorowsky (at age 80) is Infectious and Admirable. Despite His Messiah Complex and Visions of Grandeur, the Director Comes Across as a Warm and Likable Svengali with Rasputin Eyes and a Big Heart.

It is Exciting to See the Machinations of the Process, both Artistic and Administrative of How this Visionary Did Not Sacrifice Artistic Integrity to Peddle His Wares to Suspicious and Unresponsive Hollywood. In the End the Documentary Makes a Case for the Influence that His Unmade Movie had on Blockbusters like Star Wars and Blade Runner Among Others.

Maybe the Hollywood Types that were Shown the Gargantuan Storyboard Book did not Photo Copy it or Make Copious Notes, at the Very Least the Powerful Vision did Makes it Way into the Collective Consciousness through the Doors of Perception and its Influence can Hardly be Unnoticed as the Film Lays Out Pages of Artwork from the Book.

Overall, Highly Recommended for Film Fanatics, Pop Culture Historians, and Anyone Interested in the Inner Workings of a Creative Genius and a Very Likable, if Eccentric, Artist and Filmmaker.
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A galaxy too far . . .
oscaralbert28 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
. . . or the biggest theft of intellectual property in world history? I'm sure the producers of JODOROWSKY'S DUNE and the 17 "talking heads" interviewed here had a legion of lawyers telling them what NOT to say about the crime committed against ripped-off movie writer\director\star Alejandro Jodorowsky, who SHOULD be as rich and famous as George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg put together. In 1975 he entrusted meticulously complete storyboards, costume, and art direction full-color mock-ups to all the major Tinsel Town studios. It's not hard to read between the lines of DUNE and know that each studio made lots of photo copies BEFORE returning this enormous Pre-production book to Alejandro with polite rejection memos. While Jodorowsky's proposed film adaptation of novelist Frank Herbert's first DUNE book starring Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and David Carradine was scuttled by Hollywood, shot-for-shot scenes, costumes, spaceships, and robots were stolen wholesale and incorporated into STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, ALIEN, TERMINATOR, PREDATOR, THE MATRIX, BLADE RUNNER, CONTACT, FLASH GORDON, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, PROMETHEUS, and scores of other flicks by these same hypocritical conglomerates suing the pants off poor people for "illegally" copying, downloading, or otherwise "pirating" the government-bribing pirates themselves. Ironically, in addition to appropriating the life work of a naive foreign visionary, film historians have voted the David Lynch-directed misbegotten on-the-cheap version of DUNE released in 1984 as "the film most likely to make the Angels weep in Heaven."
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Dune:The Alt Never Filmed Version.
morrison-dylan-fan15 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
With having found auteur film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Dance of Reality to be a dazzling surreal title,I was pleased to spot on a thread on IMDb's Film Festival thread that a doc about a project Jodorowsky failed to get made was chosen for viewing,which led to me getting ready to step on Jodorowsky's Dune.

The outline of the doc:

After his movie The Holy Mountain is an unexpected hit,film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky is asked by the producer about what he would like to do for his next project.Hearing about the book,Jodorowsky decides that he would like to do an adaptation of the Sci-Fi novel Dune.Once the producer gets the rights, Jodorowsky begins writing a screenplay for a 14 hour long (!) adaptation.As he Jodorowsky starts hiring people for the film,the project starts to face cash troubles.

View on the film:

Displaying a number of the superb storyboards and drawings that Jodorowsky had done for the project,director Frank Pavich offers a bittersweet taste to what could have been by bringing the storyboards alive with a delicate use of CGI.Along with the CGI preview,Pavich dips the film into Jodorowsky's surrealist ink,thanks to images of the stars and pre-production meetings, (from Mick Jagger to producer Dan O'Bannon being high when he first met Jodorowsky!)giving the movie a dreamy fantasy atmosphere.Despite the project not reaching the screen, Alejandro Jodorowsky displays a burning passion for the project which shines across the screen,as Jodorowsky reveals what came out of the ashes of Dune.
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It makes me wanna make a movie
siderite30 June 2014
I cannot say if I liked the documentary or not. It shows the lifelong obsession of a guy to make a specific adaptation from Frank Herbert's Dune, how he did 99% of the work only to be turned down by the money people in Hollywood. Brilliant, uncompromising, ahead of his time, Jodorowsky is being interviewed now, when he is an 80 year old man, bitter from the failure of the film. I think this is what bothered me most. People described him as this brilliant charismatic man, but I only saw the self-important old man that ruined his son's life to turn him into the perfect lead actor for his film.

Other than that, the information contained in it alone makes the film worth watching. It gives you direct connection to the creational process: how to write the story, how to find the people that can draw it on paper, how to woo the actors, how not to present a movie to accountants and so on.

As a Herbert fan, especially Dune, I didn't like very much how Jodorowsky wanted to change the story, but imagine a project having the likes of Dali, Giger, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger and others. He didn't like Lynch's version of Dune either, which I think was great - compared to most other Lynch movies that I dislike. It was painful to realize that, if I would have been the Hollywood producer, I would have turned down the movie as well, probably. Yet at the end I could not not admire the man and his passion for movie making.

A movie definitely worth watching, but I still don't know if I liked it or not.
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If you're a fan of film and filmmaking this documentary is definitely worth a look!
Hellmant15 May 2014
'JODOROWSKY'S DUNE': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Documentary about popular cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempts to make his ambitious film version of the classic 1965 sci-fi novel 'Dune' (in the mid-1970s). The project was abandoned and the book was later turned into a movie by producer Dino De Laurentiis and director David Lynch. This documentary was directed and produced (with Stephen Scarlata and Travis Stevens) by Frank Pavich and it features interviews with Jodorowsky, the late (and great) H.R. Giger, Nicholas Winding Refn, Dan O' Bannon and many others. It's a very interesting and informative film and makes a compelling argument for why Jodorowsky's 'DUNE' could have been a masterpiece.

Frank Herbert's beloved novel 'Dune' was originally optioned (to be turned into a film) by producer Arthur P. Jacobs in 1973. He died before he could make that dream a reality and the rights were then passed on to cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky spent $2 million (and years) developing his project (in pre-production) by traveling around pitching the idea to people like Giger, O' Bannon, Orson Welles, David Carradine and many others. He managed to assemble his ultimate dream cast and crew (by convincing them what an epic masterpiece it would be) but he failed to make that same point with investors and couldn't secure enough money to finally make his movie. This doc spends a lot of time with Jodorowsky and interviews many others involved as well; as it details the epic 'pre-production' of 'Jodorowsky's Dune'.

I love film and filmmaking, and I make my own ultra-low-budget movies as well, so I have an extreme amount of passion for the art form and of course this movie is very moving to me. So is watching Jodorowsky explain his passion for that same art and (most specifically) the 'DUNE' project. His version of Herbert's classic literature was going to take a lot of creative liberties with the source material; so it probably would have upset a lot of fans (but it couldn't have possibly infuriated them anymore than Lynch's version). No one knows for sure what kind of a movie it would have been but Pavich makes a very convincing case (through this documentary) for why it would have been a revolutionary masterpiece. He also explains how it influenced countless popular and successful sci-flicks that did get made (which followed it). If you're a fan of film and filmmaking this documentary is definitely worth a look.

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Interesting, to a point
Red_Identity7 December 2014
I just want to say that I find this director to be pretty interesting, but not without a huge ego and not without having said some questionable stuff here (along with these certain comments about rape). The film does have some great scenes of the many different drawings and the work that had been done for the film before it had been cancelled, but ultimately I found a lot of it also to be quite dull and just way to pretentious. Still, the good outweighs the bad in this case, and it's only slightly recommended from me with quite a lot of reservations. I'm sure many others will take more from it (and they have).
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Portrait of an artist
gbill-7487717 April 2020
A documentary about a film adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune that was conceived and planned in 1974 by Alejandro Jodorowsky, but never made. What was fascinating about it for me was to see Jodorowsky himself; his presence and how he speaks about the creative process is simply electric. This is a portrait of a pure artist, a man who even at 84 (in 2013), is vital, energetic, and inspired. It was impressive to me see how he recognized and brought world-class people into the team (his "spiritual warriors"), inspired them by telling them his vision, and then let them go off and create, which is a great model for managing top creative talent.

Unfortunately, he recognizes no practical constraint or compromise, seeks a dream team (Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Orson Wells, Pink Floyd, etc), gives in to some of their outrageous demands, and says things to Hollywood executives like the film would be 12 or 20 hours long if that's what his vision called for. Ultimately, of course, this was to his own undoing. One wonders what might have been made if he had had just 2% pragmatism in him, because the storyboard and artwork that was created look amazing - and I wish, as Jodorowsky did four decades later, that someone would pick it up and make a film with it.

Where the documentary is lacking somewhat is the aura of hero worship it creates around Jodorowsky. Some of the other people interviewed are less impressive, and the claims of how big an impact this project had on science-fiction films seem a little exaggerated. It's intriguing that he had this vision a few years before Star Wars, but more balance was needed in presenting it, one that asked harder questions. That said, it's entertaining because of all the talent involved - and how often do you get to hear how Salvador Dali negotiated for a film part? Jodorowsky's quote about what he was doing with Herbert's work by altering the ending is pretty funny too.
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I'm one of the people that pretty glad, Jodorowsky's movie got never made. Its sounds like a bad acid trip. Still, a great documentary to watch.
ironhorse_iv23 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Indeed, this felt like a sand castle washing away upon the surf. The documentary directed by Frank Povich, tells the story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt to made Frank Herbert's novel into the big screen, but ultimately failing. While, I'm a huge fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky's work in 1970's El Topo. I can't get behind his version of Dune. It's a lot worse than David Lynch's 1984's Dune movie. It has little to do with author Frank Herbert's work. Alejandro Jodorowsky even admits to raping Frank Herbert's work in the film. To understand the mess that Jodorowsky made of Herbert's work, a brief discussion of what Dune is about, must be in order. The novel is about, a young hero, call Paul Atreides whom family is killed, when an interplanetary emperor fears the rising power of his family clan. The youth man find shelter on Planet Arrakis, a harsh and arid desert planet in which only two things thrive; mélange (spice currency) and Fremen, a nomadic warrior tribe. Wanting revenge, Paul use the tribe, to send out a holy war or Jihad against the Emperor. The book is supposed to represent the unforgiving growing conflict between Western beliefs and that of its Arab World. Instead, Jodorowsky wanted a dream-like sequence of self-revelation. Jodorowsky states that his intention was to replicate for his audience the experience of LSD-induced hallucinations, without having to take the LSD. He wanted to open the minds of viewers to possibilities. By doing this, he has chosen a trippy happy ending where the book did not had. What the hell is with that ending, he wanted!? Without spoiling too much of it, it made little sense and felt like a spiritual cop-out. Over 30 minutes of deleted scenes go further into the plot and differences between Herbert's vision and Jodorowsky's planned film in the documentary special features and you can see, clearly why this movie wouldn't had work. What made it, worst, is the fact that Jodorowsky chose to adapt the novel without ever having even reading it! If made, the movie would certainly lose some themes that Frank Herbert wanted to put. I do give some credit, some of Jodorowsky's themes were indeed complex meditation of society, but the way, he wanted to make it, didn't look so clear. First off, the length of the movie, he wanted to make. 14 to 10 hours sit is a hard watch, even for any die-hard Sci-Fiction fan. The acting choices for the film are pretty outrageous. Salvador Dali as the Emperor? Orson Welles as a fat snob Baron? Mick Jagger as a speedo wearing bad guy? Is this a comedy, or a Sci-Fiction? This movie is soundly more and more like 1974's Zardoz with its bad concept. The one thing, Jodorowsky got right is hiring Dan O'Bannon, H.R Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud Moebius. Most of them, would later go on, making the awesome movie, 1979's Alien. Jodorowsky had already spent nearly a third of the budget without shooting a thing, the producer decided to replace him. 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. Watching the documentary, it made it seem like Jodorowsky won it out in the end, but watching this documentary, and watching Lynch's Dune, I can't see Jodorowky doing better. I would even say if Jodorowsky's Dune had been released. It would flopped, and Star Wars might never have been given the green light, which would be a shame. So, I'm glad, it never got made. Now to the documentary, the film had this mostly one-sided cult like praise, as everybody saying this movie would be awesome, and its Hollywood fault, for not understanding art. Excuse me, there are reasons, why certain art films are great, and other sucks. It's the fact, the people put a lot of work and heart into it. The documentary biggest mistake, is using Hollywood as a main reason excuse why the movie was never made. Just because the studio decline to fund it, doesn't mean the movie couldn't be made. The documentary felt so whinny, without little work to show. Instead of doing countless interviews about why Jodorowky's dream will never get made. Why don't the documentary, instead focus on pitching Jodorowsky's ideas to people that can fund it. That's the biggest fault of the documentary. It felt so temper tantrum, showing Jodorowsky is bitching, while doing nothing after the fail attempt. 'The goal of life is to create a soul", he says in the film. What does he knows? He's such a hypocrite. Why bother making a documentary about a person who give up? How is this uplifting? Another fault of the documentary is the audio track. Half of the time, you can't understand, half of the people being talk to. It really needed so sub-titles. Then the movie even has the nerves, to keep an interview that get interrupt by a cat in the film. WTF!? Overall: The documentary was pretty entertaining, even if I don't agree with most of the ideas, Jodorowsky had for the film version of Dune. The production art-work feature in the film are beautiful to look at, and probably is the highlight of the film. It's a must watch for any film student, or Sci-Fiction nut. A good 'What If' documentary for sure.
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About ambition
sol-3 January 2016
Long before Frank Herbert's 'Dune' was adapted into a movie in 1984 and a miniseries in 2000, 'Santa Sangre' director Alejandro Jodorowsky originally attempted to bring the novel to screen and this documentary details how his ambitious project failed. The film consists of interviews with Jodorowsky and his former collaborators, as well as archive footage of those no longer alive. Through these interviews, it becomes clear that the project was always doomed from the start, but that it may have been a surefire interesting movie had it gotten off the ground. Obstacles to production are revealed to include cautious financiers, unwilling to fund a sci-fi film that would run for more than 90 minutes, and egotistical actors (Salvador Dalí apparently wanted $100,000 per minute for the privilege of appearing). As the documentary progresses though, it starts to veer off the deep end with its repeated wild claims (not suggestions) that 'Dune' would have been the new 'Star Wars' and the greatest science fiction film of all time had it gone ahead. Even wilder though is the conspiracy theory presented towards the end, with the filmmakers suggesting that everything from 'The Matrix' to 'Prometheus' took inspiration from Jodorowsky's storyboards for 'Dune' that (they reckon) were passed around all the big studios. While the film goes a little overboard in this regard, it is still fascinating viewing throughout. Animation is used particularly well to bring some of Jodorowsky's storyboards to life and to add extra detail to a record interview with Dan O'Bannon.
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The story behind Dune...
Thanos_Alfie22 May 2020
"Jodorowsky's Dune" is a Documentary in which we watch Alejandro Jodorowsky talking about making the best movie of all time which is also his dream. He shows also how much work has been done and how many people had already worked for it.

I enjoyed this documentary very much because it was presented very well the work that has been done for it and how much the people who worked for it loved this movie. I also believe that the dream of Alejandro Jodorowsky to make the best movie of all time could be done back on 1970 but not as good as he wanted and that's the main reason why the movie "Dune" never made. I strongly believe that everyone should watch this movie because "Dune" affected many other movie which were made after it.
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If he hadn't done the movie, at least he has done the making-off (plane)
leplatypus11 September 2014
This is the only movie that I could decently watch during my flight as it has subtitles and the subject was indeed intriguing : A bit like Gilliam's « Don Quichotte » or Marilyn's « something's got to give », this movie is famous because it was never shot!

I did heard before that Moebius and Giger had worked on the project but watching their contributions for real is stunning ! The hardcover production book they edit is a must-have for any SF fans ! It's sad that this movie has never been green-lighted because he could have changed cinema history before « star wars » done it just after !

There's however a justice because the movie also explores the « spin-offs » that this failure produced : the amazing comics « Incal » done by Jodorowsky and Moebius, the « Alien » franchise as O'Bannon, Moebius and Giger worked together again. It's funny to see that « Flash Gordon » has just rip off all the ideas but without the talent !

Sure, Jodorowsky has a big head and his previous movies as some of his ideas for « Dune » are crazy. But he has a vision and it's always great to have somebody fight for his art ! The fire that he has mixes well with the calm of his french producer, actually known as a soccer manager and the father of a young actress ! However, i disagree with him about Lynch's adaptation : As much as Jodorowsky's one was his interpretation, his feeling, Lynch's one has his touch. Thus, if Dune fans are maybe disappointed, Lynch fan are nevertheless happy !
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MUST-SEE documentary for any movie buff
paul-allaer26 April 2014
"Jodorowsky's June" (2013 release from France; 90 min.) brings the background story on what is referred to as possibly the greatest movie never made, the adaptation of the science fiction book "Dune" by "high art" director Alejandro Jodorowsky. As the documentary opens, we get a crash course of Jodorowsky's earlier work, including experimental theatre in Mexico in the early 60s and a couple of cult movie in the early 70s that did surprisingly well in Europe. So Jodorowsky gets the opportunity to assemble a team of "warriors", as he calls them, to make his vision of Dune into a visual reality. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first and foremost, if you are a movie enthusiast, you are in for a finger-lickin' good time! Credit for that goes of course to director Frank Pavich, but let's be honest: he couldn't have had a more enjoyable subject than Alejandro Jodorowsky, who turns out to be a master story teller. The way he convinces people, one after another, to give their cooperation to the movie, is just priceless (one of the best stories involves the movie makers making a trip to London to ask Pink Floyd to provide the soundtrack--just watch!). Jodorowsky is now in his mid-80s but he looks about 20 or 30 years younger, and most importantly, he remains as feisty and as ambitious as ever. There is a nice soundtrack to the movie, by Kurt Stenzel (of the band SpacEKraft).

I had seen the trailer for this movie a number of times in recent weeks, and this was for me once of the most anticipated releases so far in 2014. The movie opened this weekend at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati, and I went to see it right away. The early evening screening I saw this at was very well attended, I'm happy to say. If you are in the mood for a top notch documentary that gives the spotlight to a creative genius who could've/should've brought Dune to the big screen the right way, by all means see this. "Jodorowsky's Dune" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Huge Vision lost in the Desert of Reality
hellraiser723 April 2020
Visons can be an interesting thing as we constantly dream about it we constantly build it up on our minds and it just keeps getting bigger each day, which is why reality has a hard time keeping up.

This is another one of my favorite documentaries, this is another documentary about lost movies, the ones that never became a vision for the silver screen. I love this subject as I'm a movie buff and I actually have a fascination with that subject, it's always interesting learning about the history about it's production and the reasons why it never came to be; but also it really leaves it to your own imagination wondering what could have been.

Dune is my favorite book of all time and yes I have seen the 80's David Lynch adaptation which I actually liked despite not meeting all my expectations. Even both miniseries on the Sci-Fi channel which I also like and feel are under the radar gems. Alejandro Jotorowsky is one of my favorite movie directors of all time, so you think when you combine the two you can't possibly lose, right?

I maybe in the minority on this but personally, I'm fine that this version of Dune was never made. Don't get me wrong I'm a fan of the director and book and from what I've seen in the documentary one part of me wishes this film was made though that mainly because of my fandom for the director than the source material. However the other part of me as a fan of the book, most of what Jotorowsky vision as fascinating and beautifully strange it is, wasn't entirely what I had in mind.

One of the other things why Jotorowsky's Dune never happened were the amount of liberties he was taking with the source material and well you can say it was the whole enchilada. There are a lot of things he wanted to add into it that had nothing to do with the story and may alienate readers like myself and non-readers of the book or even fans and non-fans of sci-fi. Like for example in one scene there was going to be a giraffe on fire what the significance of that in the story would be is anyone's guess. Another a planet made entirely of gold, yeah at that point I felt J was really reaching, where to I have no idea.

Another was from a technical and budgetary standpoint, Jotorowsky's Dune was believe me I hate and rarely say this unfilmable. Some of the set piece he proposed parts of the hallucinatory/dream sequences, certain ships, fortresses, sfxs, worlds themselves would have been pretty damn expensive to create, however that's not the difficult part the most difficult would have been making them work at all. This in a way shows that Jotorowsky was also a person that was a little ahead of his time, as by today's standards we now have the technology to do what he has proposed, but sadly (ok not totally) this will never happen.

I think even if they managed to even make the film, or at least what they can do with the technology they possessed at the time, there would be no gurintee of success or even if fans like myself of the book would even love it at all. But now lets get down to the positives, this documentary is fascinating because it's not so much a tragedy about the film that never was but really about the passion of constructing a vision that was just too big for reality to match but still beautiful to imagine and look at. Though also about the power of imagination itself and how far it can truly go.

I really like seeing all the art designs and story boards, just seeing the elaborate detail for them and what they had planed for the film they really look beautiful and awesome. Really love the fact that most of the designs were done by the late great artist H.G. Giger which is awesome as he's my favorite artist.

The artwork you see is just crazy but really beautiful and cool at the same time, it's something you have to see to believe. Like the design of certain ships one that was interesting were ships with a face and having a mouth open. Yeah, I know really strange but I felt a real creative and unique take on starships, where instead of metal they made them organic and living which really isn't something done much. Even some of the costumes they had were cool and had certain symbols to them which of course is something J always specializes in.

Even the drawn movie poster they had for it looks awesome. Seeing these things I feel they ought to adapt Jotorowsky's version of Dune into a graphic novel, just take the art work for the planed film along with Jotorowsky's script and story. It would be an interesting read just to see how version would've played out and interesting to play a compare and contrast game with the upcoming adaptation by Denis Villenevue coming out.

I like some of the interviews from most of the people that were involved in the pre-production of this project and some of the ups and downs of what they all been though. Most sci-fi fans and fans of Jotorowsky all of them familiar faces like Richard Stanley another one of my favorite directors. They all had some interesting and nice things to say about the director and the Dune project.

But I really liked the interviews with Jotorowsky himself, whom I also thought was a good fun soul if somewhat loose on his shoes sometimes, like a certain metaphor he brings up. This is a guy that had a grand vision he was highly passionate about but got too lost in it or wander too far from reality. From what he was saying in the interview, I really do get what he was trying to do, he wasn't so much making a direct adaptation of the source material but really more rewriting it giving the public his own version of the classic.

That's understandable let alone a bold and risky move. Lets face it when it comes to adaptations, it can be a tricky feet because you have to walk that line of staying true to the source but at the same time doing your own thing, having your own interpretation of the story. Which is part of what makes adaptations of stories fascinating to me because when ever we read a book or listen to stories told we always picture things differently. Jotorowsky never really achieved that balance as he clearly was just doing his own thing but still how he imagined "Dune" to be is very colorful and interesting all the same.

Despite the end results you can't help (or at least me) but still admire the guy as this was a guy that was passionate about his vison and fought hard to make it reality, which in a way is the same with most of us as we all have dreams, a certain passion project we want turned into reality.

In a sense you can say Jodorowsky's did somewhat become reality as stories of his vision did inspires most filmmakers and there are bits and pieces of a vision of J in certain films we know and love. But also most of Jodorowsky's version of Dune was in the graphic comic book mini series he created "The Incal" which is one of my personal favorite comic book series and it would be a great project to adapt into a movie franchise, maybe it could be me.

Overall, this is a very solid documentary though like most documentaries it may not be everyone's cup of tea. If you're a fan of the book "Dune", the director Jotorowsky and his work, or even just into the sci-fi genre and the subject of lost movies then this documentary is for you. Jotorowky's Dune is a never made masterpiece.

Rating: 3 and a half stars
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Jodorowsky's Vision is Vapor Cinema; Conceptually Brilliant and Thoroughly Mind-Teasing, But Inherently Doomed
drqshadow-reviews6 February 2015
A group of talking heads sit down to chat about the "most ambitious sci-fi epic never made." Which, I realize, sounds like some rather exaggerated, overplayed hyperbole. Thing is, between the director's intense dedication to the project and remarkable eye for talent, it quickly seems like a pretty reasonable statement. Alejandro Jodorowsky, who single-handedly provides much of the documentary's narration, is both the best and the worst thing to happen to this launchpad-implosion of a film. His confidence can often come off as egotism, and his absurd track record quickly turned off any potential Hollywood suitors (ultimately damning the picture) but in retrospect there's no arguing with the impact his hand-picked team made on the world of science fiction at large. Then-unknowns like HR Giger and Mœbius would go on to enormous careers, both in the cinema and art scenes, while many of their collaborators found themselves poached for future hits like Star Wars and Alien. There's a certain irrational appeal to the man himself, which immediately comes through in his speech and mannerisms. It's no wonder major celebrities like Pink Floyd and David Carradine would attach themselves to the project, mingling with brow-furrowing supporting acts like Orson Welles and Salvador Dali. The big question of how the film could make the translation from eccentric paper-bound concept to vivid on-screen special effect (in a pre-Lucasfilm world, no less) is never adequately answered, and that hurts in the long run, but as an exercise in unbridled, unhinged creative discharge it's fascinating. Utterly tripped-out, surreal and nonsensical at times, but fascinating.
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Inspiring and Meaningful.
rannynm6 May 2014
What an inspirational and meaningful story. When I first started watching this film, I thought it was a story about a director but, it is completely different, unexpected and unique. It is the marvelous story about Jodorowsky's Dune journey.

This documentary has tons to offer if you are a sci-fi fan or simply interested in inspirational stories. It is thrilling, funny and interesting, especially for cinema enthusiasts like me. I also believe that anyone who loves classics will enjoy it as well. The documentary is unique and different, in its own way.

The story is about a "French Steven Spielberg" named Alejandro Jodorowsky who made famous and mind-blowing films that always had a deeper meaning behind them. He had a dream of making a movie based on the famous book "Dune" by Frank Herbert. We join this extremely inspiring adventure where he tries to make this film but sadly fails after two years of hard work. Fortunately, his work is not wasted as it became the basis for many sci-fi movies that followed thus making Jodorowsky's dream become bigger than he could have ever imagined.

I absolute loved this documentary. The angles of the camera are very different, never fixed on one person or one place, which makes it look like you are there in the same room with the people that are talking. It includes narration by people that helped make the film which fits really nicely. The director also includes clips from some of the films that used some of Jodorowsky's ideas to support what the narrator is discussing. That made me want to watch those films. The layout is unique and clean because it shows the passing of time. Since the film was never made, they animated the drawings to give you an idea of how it would have look had it been finished. That, in turn, made me want to watch it over and over again. The story inspired me and will inspire others.

My favorite part is when they talk about the very opening scene. The scene opens in a galaxy than zooms in on a specific area. For the 70s, this was very advanced and hard to do. Since they drew it, the animators made it come to life in the documentary. Also, at the end, the film shows how this work inspired other producers to create similar shots. There is a secret meaning, which I love, and that is advanced and was never before done.

This movie has a lot of adult content and terminology so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more film reviews, go to kidsfirst dot org.
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Overexcited and generous to Jodorowsky's eccentricity, but it eventually justifies its point.
Sergeant_Tibbs14 August 2014
In hindsight, it's surprising how small Alejandro Jodorowsky's filmography is. With only around half a dozen feature films to his name, most notably the astonishing The Holy Mountain and bizarre El Topo, he has quite a legacy for himself, but evidently not enough as he and director Frank Pavich are hungry for more credit. Granted, he does deserve it, but you can't help but feel that Pavich is being a bit too generous to Jodorowsky. He is certainly an eccentric character, one that's almost frustrating to listen for too long in English (not his native tongue). The documentary details the development of Jodorowsky's Dune, before David Lynch got his mitts on it, but it struggles to give a reason to care as deeply as Pavich does. These people are very passionate and worked very hard and that kind of creativity and ambition is admirable and infectious, but the documentary struggles to communicate why Dune is particularly important. It's like a constant buildup with little payoff, try as it might with crude animated portrayals of how a scene may have looked. However, that payoff does come for its last 10 minutes when it finally elaborates on the influence of Dune in cinematic history, though many of them may be reaching, but now I can't help looking. A lot less celebrity name drops would've made this a stronger documentary, but it's still fascinating to see the development of a piece of film history, something that's only justified near its end.

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The story of the science-fiction epic that never was
brchthethird14 November 2014
I already was aware, through THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, that Alejandro Jodorowsky is a visionary when it comes to film. He has a unique way of combining surrealistic imagery and a spiritual aesthetic that is nearly unparalleled. Watching one of his movies is an experience like no other, which makes just a bit sad that his DUNE never materialized into a film. However, there was a lot of pre-production work that went into it and that is what this documentary is about. I was astonished at how much work actually went into this project before studio heads said no to it. Jodorowsky had recruited some of the greatest people in their fields to create for him: people like H.R. Giger and Dan O'Bannon, who created some of the conceptual art for the film. In fact, the entire film exists on paper. There is a script, storyboards, concept art, the whole works. And even though the film was never made, it was a treat to hear all of these people talk about the project and the hopes they had for it. DUNE was ambitious, and maybe just a bit too ambitious for its time. Still, as this documentary points out, it left its mark on science-fiction and its fingerprints can be seen in a lot of films that came after it, from ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, to THE TERMINATOR, CONTACT and PROMETHEUS. This documentary was fascinating to watch and I highly recommend you check it out.
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Jodorowsky's Dune
phubbs30 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I only discovered this documentary after it was mentioned in a movie thread by a fellow flick lover. I'll be honest with the fact that I'm not overly aware of director Jodorowsky and his work so I went into this totally blind only knowing about the classic sci-fi epic that is Dune.

It all starts off with a relatively in depth look at Jodorowsky's previous work leading up to his Dune attempt. We learn about films such as 'El Topo' and 'The Holy Mountain' which appear to be his most famous works, films I have never seen or heard of admittedly but 'El Topo' does look the more interesting to me being a violent western. Its here that we learn how Jodo thinks, how he sees things, his imagination, creations and ideas, and basically one word sums it all up...surreal.

This doc explains how Jodo travelled all across Europe to lure various big names to his project trying to get his unique vision off the ground. The doc shows us lots of small sketches drawings and a small animated example of the way ideas were going, in all honesty there isn't a lot to be shown really. I was hoping for lots of big Ralph McQuarrie type paintings giving a clearer picture but alas no. Many of the images are unfinished or purely examples, not even the final idea, and half of which looked pretty terrible to me but that's a personal opinion. Everything has now been put into a ginormous book which I believe has the complete plot in hand drawn black and white pencil storyboard form (panels) with colour extras. Thing is we don't really get to see that much in this doc, maybe there isn't that much to see and what we do see is all there is.

Most of the doc is mainly dialog from various people involved with Jodo on the project at different stages. They discuss every aspect of the production including bits which I found more interesting such as approaching H.R. Giger and Chris Foss the sci-fi artist about design work, both of which resulting in some typically unusual yet familiar concept work. Intriguing to see Dan O' Bannon was also involved with this project for special effects...which most probably led the way for another certain alien film and probably influenced his imagination. What I found the most arousing was the possible casting choices by Jodo, whether or not these stars would have been used in the final film is anyone's guess but its a strange bunch.

Orson Welles as 'Baron Harkonnen' really felt like a bad choice to me and simply made because he was very fat at the time, Salvador Dali probably because Jodo was part of the surrealist movement which is hardly any kind of surprise and Mick Jagger as 'Feyd-Rautha' who did look the part but again was mainly thought of because of his fame at the time. Many of the outfits designed for these characters also varied drastically, from more grounded Star Wars type styles to very bright bold and colourful costumes that were garish and oddly revealing, especially Jagger's which was pretty much a male dominatrix getup. The only guy that seemed to fit the film to me was David Carradine, but again he was only chosen due to his current popularity and not because he may or may not have fit the role.

Overall I think this film was too much of a personal pet project for Jodorowsky, he clearly wanted to make the film desperately and gets frustrated during the doc. But from what I can gather he was casting people mainly because he simply liked them or they were popular, he cast his son as 'Paul Atreides' which kinda comes across as nepotism to me, he alters much of the book to suit himself and despite some groundbreaking concepts for effects and visuals, again his own taste seems to be heavily influencing the story of Dune. Any director must be happy with his vision sure, they will want to add their own style to it but Jodo seems to lose the concept of Dune in places to me and its only his creative team that kept him in check.

Bottom line I can't help but feel this film may have ended up like the cheesy 1980 'Flash Gordon' flick. A mixture of electro synth rock with a traditional score in places (Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and progressive rock?), possibly tawdry or gaudy visuals and loud hammy over the top performances. Seeing as Jodo was taking drugs during this time (he got O'Bannon high to sell his idea to him!) I worry that this film would have felt more like a hallucinogenic hippie ride than a sci-fi space opera. I'm sure the effects would have been good in places but they were really breaking new ground at the time (1975-76) so who knows how that could of gone. Jodo went against '2001' effects wizard Trumbull so the possibility of a realistic Dune universe may have been lost with him.

An absorbing documentary which definitely digs deep into the buried layers of a film that some call a lost epic. Jodorowsky is a true visionary no doubt but I'm not sure if his vision, at least some of it, was right for Dune. The only disappointment for me here was I was kinda expecting much more visual concept work to be show, seemed a bit thin on the ground to me. Never the less highly engrossing stuff that any sci-fi buff should enjoy. I would be very interested to see Jodorowsky's vision filmed now.

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Utterly tripped-out, surreal and nonsensical at times, but fascinating
eminkl18 April 2020
A group of talking heads sit down to chat about the "most ambitious sci-fi epic never made." Which, I realize, sounds like some rather exaggerated, overplayed hyperbole. Thing is, between the director's intense dedication to the project and remarkable eye for talent, it quickly seems like a pretty reasonable statement. Alejandro Jodorowsky, who single-handedly provides much of the documentary's narration, is both the best and the worst thing to happen to this launchpad-implosion of a film. His confidence can often come off as egotism, and his absurd track record quickly turned off any potential Hollywood suitors (ultimately damning the picture) but in retrospect there's no arguing with the impact his hand-picked team made on the world of science fiction at large. Then-unknowns like HR Giger and Mbius would go on to enormous careers, both in the cinema and art scenes, while many of their collaborators found themselves poached for future hits like Star Wars and Alien. There's a certain irrational appeal to the man himself, which immediately comes through in his speech and mannerisms. It's no wonder major celebrities like Pink Floyd and David Carradine would attach themselves to the project, mingling with brow-furrowing supporting acts like Orson Welles and Salvador Dali. The big question of how the film could make the translation from eccentric paper-bound concept to vivid on-screen special effect (in a pre-Lucasfilm world, no less) is never adequately answered, and that hurts in the long run, but as an exercise in unbridled, unhinged creative discharge it's fascinating. Utterly tripped-out, surreal and nonsensical at times, but fascinating.
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