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TIFF 2013 Review: Jodorowsky’s Dune


Jodorowsky’s Dune

“It would take a touch of madness to do it”. That is one of the quotes on and in Jodorowsky’s Dune. The documentary, by Frank Pavich, is an imagine-that reflection on the surrealist wet dream that would have leaped out of the filmic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune if written and directed by the Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. He invented the “midnight madness” event with his 1970 mind trip El Topo, which starred himself and his son Brontis.

In the documentary, Jodorowsky himself hashes out his master plan for Dune, the intended extraordinary achievement that would render 2001: A Space Odyssey seem mumblecore by comparison. Skeptical? Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn reassures in an opening interview: “trust me: it’s fucking awesome.”

And Jodorowsky’s Dune reveals the director’s vision to the world. Confusion, frustration, excitement and disappointment are injected in Jodorowsky’s voice as he openly discloses his barking mad/brilliant ideas, such as casting Mick Jagger and Orson Welles and, ahem, the spectacle of burning giraffes. You read that correctly.

The documentary, unfortunately, doesn’t dabble very much on David Lynch’s released version, but for a specific reason: it was a financial and critical debacle, and Jodorowsky was grateful. “That wasn’t Lynch though”, he asserts. “A producer did that.” Of course, that was precisely why Jodorowsky’s Dune failed to take form: the suits couldn’t support a man with cosmic ambitions. Jodorowsky’s Dune is in fact a martyr for all the cinematic masterpieces never made.

[star v=35]

Tuesday September 10 – The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – 8:00 PM
Wednesday September 11 – Scotiabank 2 – 9:15 PM