Guest review by Terri McSorley
“I wanted to make a film that would give the people who took LSD at that time the hallucinations that you get with that drug, but without the hallucinations. I did not want LSD to be taken; I wanted to fabricate the drug’s effects. This film was going to change the public’s perceptions.”
This is a quote from the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich. Director and writer Alejandro Jodorowsky has a small but extraordinary film resume which includes Fando y Lis, El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre. The quote could apply to any of these four films. I am a great admirer of this quartet of one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Jodorowsky’s unmade version of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” went as far as a film could possibly go pre-camera; the proof lies in a monster-sized tome of ideas and sketches that looks to be a few thousand pages thick. Jodorowsky worked with Jean “Moebius” Giraud to create storyboards for every scene of the film. The sketches from this tome were used throughout the documentary. The interviewees include Michel Seydoux (the unfinished film’s producer), Jean-Pierre Gibon (co-producer), Nicolas Winding Refn (director—Bronson, Only God Forgives), Richard Stanley (director–Hardware, Dust Devil), Devin Faraci (film critic), Chris Foss (artist), H.R. Giger (artist), Amanda Lear (Salvador Dali‘s muse), Diane O’Bannon (wife of the late Dan O’Bannon, who was going to supervise Dune‘s special effects), Christian Vander (musician—Magma), Gary Kurtz (producer—Star Wars trilogy, The Dark Crystal), Brontis Jodorowsky (Alejandro’s son, who acted in El Topo and Santa Sangre), and the centerpiece of the documentary: Alejandro Jodorowsky.
We are given a brief background on Alejandro’s career: his work in the theater and his first three feature length films. El Topo was so successful that he was given a million dollars to make The Holy Mountain. The Holy Mountain‘s success prompted a union with producer Michel Seydoux. Seydoux asked the director, if he could make any film, what would it be? Jodorowsky answered, “Dune.” Jodorowsky had not actually read Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and only knew of it because a friend had told him how fantastic it was. The director’s screenplay made many changes to Herbert’s story, including a significant alteration to the finale. This was definitely Jodorowsky’s Dune.
“I was raping Frank Herbert, raping like this. But with Love.”
With the script written, Jodorowsky needed to find the people who would help make it happen; “spiritual warriors,” in his own words. The talent that was going to be involved included many of my own favorite artists, actors and musicians. Dan O’Bannon was to supervise the special effects, artist Chris Foss would have designed the project’s spaceships, and H.R. Giger would have realized the Gothic planet Harkonnen. Pink Floyd would have created music for planet Leto, while Magma would have done the same for the Harkonnen. Jodorowsky’s cast was to be as follows: David Carradine as Duke Leto, Brontis Jodorowsky as Paul Atreides, Salvador Dali as the Mad Emperor, Amanda Lear as Princess Irulan, Mick Jagger as Feyd-Rautha, and Continue reading JODOROWSKY’S DUNE