Film of the Week: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”


Frank Pavich’s “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is a documentary about, not the making of a film but the dream about making a film. “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” then begins to take on a magical quality that exhibits the efforts of bringing art to life. Through a series of interviews ranging from Alejandro Jodorowsky himself, to H.R. Giger of “Alien” fame and Chris Foss, who both worked as artists on Jodorowsky’s team, Pavich captures a grand journey that’s akin to adventure films, in the most minimal manner, with nothing more than a camera, four walls, the subject of his questions and an inside look on Jodorowsky’s “Dune” hand-drawn script that’s comprised of three-thousand drawings.

For those who are unaware of who Alejandro Jodorowsky is, the film’s beginning portion is dedicated to chronicling the director’s avant-garde beginnings in Mexican theater, to Jodorowsky’s movement into surrealist cinema with his first three works: “Fando y Lis,” which incited a riot at its premier and was subsequently banned in Mexico, “El Topo,” a violent acid-western that follows an all-black-clad gunfighter and his young son on a bizarre quest for spiritual enlightenment and finally “The Holy Mountain,” another surrealist and violent film albeit a film’s who violence is directed at the nature of cinema itself.

From this point onwards, Jodorowsky begins to describe how his journey began and the effort as well as the difficulties in putting a team together for production—a team which consists of a wide range of artists, musicians, and actors ranging from Salvador Dali to Pink Floyd and finally Mick Jagger. What partly helps to give “Jodorowsky’s Dune” its picaresque element is Jodorowsky’s own eccentricity during these interviews.

In relating the stories centered on the failed attempt at adapting Dune, Jodorowsky infects his words with a grand charisma and body language that shake the screen, seemingly giving life to imagination and helping the audience feel that they themselves are part of Jodorowsky’s journey.

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