Very seldom does the Hollywood machine acknowledge let alone distribute films from the “not so normal” directors of the world. One such peculiar director is Alejandro Jodorowsky – who in the mind of this reviewer is perhaps the greatest visionary in film still working today. Jodorowsky’s films (EL TOPO, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN) contain occult imagery, surreal elements, and often the use of deformed actors. His movies are beautiful journeys into a strange world where magic is real and possible. He may perhaps be the inventor of the midnight cult film, a treat we now take for granted.
What many might not know is that Jodorowsky was once slated to make the film version of Dune – a project that promised to out-STAR WARS STAR WARS before it even existed. It was a movie that Jodorowsky wanted to induce the effects of LSD without having taken the drug, a movie that would change the minds of young people forever. JODOROWSKY’S DUNE, a documentary from Frank Pavich, interviews Jodorowsky and his “spiritual warriors,” a group of talents (Dan O’Bannon, H. R. Giger, Jean “Mœbius” Giraud, Pink Floyd, Orson Welles, David Carradine, Salvador Dalí, Chris Foss, and honestly too many amazing people to list) that would go on to be the who’s who of Sci-Fi after they worked on the greatest film never made.
After seeing the film, I am distraught that it wasn’t made. Admittedly, it would have been a 14 hour epic (Hollywood does NOT like those!). I would have sat through all of it. Who knows what movies would be like now if DUNE had been made by Jodorowsky and not the monstrosity that David Lynch put out in 1984. At least, we have this documentary to shed some light on what could have been.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE, if you see it not just for the snippets of story and images from the production’s planning, is a lesson in what you can accomplish when you bring together a group of gifted people and create an environment for each of them to shine in their own way. It is the story of making dreams reality. It asks you, if only for a moment, to say “fuck you” to money and make the work you WANT to make (it also makes me want to find Jodorowsky and ask him to let me work with him).
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE (2013) DIR. FRANK PAVICH
Now Screening at Kendall Square Cinema
Interested in getting a Jodorowsky fix? You don’t have to wait long – the Coolidge Corner Cinema will be screening EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN at the end of May and start of June! And stay tuned – the first movie Jodorowsky has made in years, THE DANCE OF REALITY, gets its US release on May 23, 2014.