Filmmaking is a rough business where even the most efficient filmmakers can lose their dream project due to things like weak funding, disinterested buyers, or even bad weather. It is rough but as Jodorowsky’s Dune shows is that failing to finish a project is never a complete loss. Jodorowsky’s Dune is a documentary about director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 3-year attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune only for no American studio to actually pay any interest in it. But the documentary surprisingly not about regret as it examines the people of the Dune crew created some of their best art based on their experience working on it and how that inspiration swelled over the decades.
The true subject and star of Jodorowsky’s Dune is arguably Jodorowsky himself. Alejandro Jodorowsky is less an avant-garde filmmaker than he is a cosmic wizard that wants to reveal the pain and beauty of the universe but humans fail to understand his space lingo. This is a man who is not just inspired by LSD; he is the kind of guy who will slip it into his special effects supervisor and say, “make that.” His methods are insane but what the film reveals is that he produces brilliant results. When creating the film Dune he completed the pre-production phase with a script, storyboard, as well as a cast and crew including H.R Giger, Dan O’Bannon, Pink Floyd, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Mœbius and even Orson Welles. Jodorowsky’s insider tales alone makes this film a wonderful experience because he bursts with the type of extroverted charisma that anyone, let alone artists, would yearn to have.
Ultimately, Jodorowsky’s version of Dune never went past the pitch meetings but the experience that this collective had was clearly cherished. For example Dan O’Bannon went on to write Alien and H.R Giger became the art director for it, both of them drew inspiration from their work on Dune. Jodorowsky’s Dune could have simply been a stark reminder of the fickle business that is filmmaking but it subverts that idea to become a loving homage to struggling artists. One of the most painful thoughts in life to believe everything that one creates or does is useless. But Jodorowsky’s Dune is a film that argues that even the broken pieces of the worst kinds of disasters are still salvageable and who does not love that?
(Jodorowsky’s Dune is available on Blu-ray/DVD. Also, if anyone knows if Jodorowsky had ever published a Dune concept art or story-board book, could you send me a link? That would be awesome.)