View Full Version : Jodorowsky's Dune (Frank Pavich)

Stay Puft
04-04-2014, 01:17 AM
Dir. Frank Pavich

IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1935156/)


Stay Puft
04-04-2014, 01:20 AM
My brief reaction from TIFF last year:

A pretty straightforward documentary that lets Jodorowsky himself do most of the heavy lifting (which might actually be a good idea anyways). What a shame that this version of Dune never materialized! It's incredible seeing the passion all of the people involved have for the project even today, and there's one scene in particular where Jodorowsky just loses it and starts ranting at the camera, his wounds having apparently never healed, despite his best efforts to convince us (himself) that he moved on. And the film makes a pretty good argument for Jodorowsky having nevertheless influenced Hollywood filmmaking from that point on (though a couple of the comparisons between modern films and Jodorowsky's workbook are a bit of a stretch). Highlight: Jodorowsky going off on a tangent about raping women and Frank Herbert. People in my audience were visibly upset. It was so outrageous I just sat there in disbelief.

Ivan Drago
04-27-2014, 06:55 PM
This was fucking AWESOME.

The actual Dune, though.......yikes.

Henry Gale
05-16-2014, 12:21 PM
This is so great.

It's a shame we only get to see Jodorowsky and the storyboards present the pieces of a handful of the sequences, because even in fragmented broad strokes, they're exhilarating. I could've stayed glued to a version of this documentary that was twice or thrice as long, even if it just indulged and dug into all the same beats, interview subjects and part of the making of-story for way longer. But mainly, more of those storyboard sequences with Alejandro talking through them.

A bunch of people have pointed to this, a trailer for the animated film adaptation of Jodo & Moebius' The Incal, which the documentary explains they re-appropriated much of their unused Dune material for. Sadly, its final product also never came to fruition, but man, it looks so gorgeous even in this rough form:


Pop Trash
05-17-2014, 08:50 PM
This was a lot of fun and Jodorowsky has a Herzog like charisma to him, but to play devil's advocate, I can totally understand why the studio would scoff at some 8-12 hour long movie. Keep in mind this is the era where United Artists went broke giving Michael Cimino carte blanche and a huge budget and Heaven's Gate was relatively shorter at 219 minutes. While it's possible this could have come out as good as Star Wars or Alien, it's also possible it could have been Zardoz, Flash Gordon, or you know, David Lynch's Dune. Guess we will never know.

Side note: HR Giger definitely seemed ill in the interviews here.

Henry Gale
05-17-2014, 11:22 PM
Yeah, the one major oversight of the documentary might be how it seems to brush past exactly how long Jodorowsky and everyone involved intended the actual film to be.

The movie's bible looks massive, but it's a collection of everything storyboarded with the script and other drawings, making it hard to gauge pages-to-screentime by, he says the "I could make 10 hours!!" retort as he recounts scoffing at them trying to rein it into something closer to 90 minutes; but that's about all we have to go by. It seems like a much bigger piece of the "How did this not get made?!" puzzle than a lot of the storytelling of the interviews seem to let on.

Luckily the documentary is about much more than that sort of regret.

Boner M
05-21-2014, 05:10 AM
Can't believe the high ratings for this one. Aside from being unimaginative filmmaking (that swoons over its subjects' imagination), the anecdotes are mostly pretty boring and repetitive, and the choice of interviewees leaves a lot be desired (fuck off, Devin Faraci). Frankly, I was even less convinced of Jodorowsky's genius after watching it. Basically agree with what this dude said on 'boxd:

certainly the film being described in this highly enjoyable documentary would have been a hell of a thing. and while the design work and adaptation details on display are tantalizing, as a chronicle of the development process this isn't particularly enlightening. great, Dan O'Bannon meets Jodo, gets pretty ripped on his "special marijuana", and signs on to the project. or "I asked Mick Jagger to be in my movie and he said OK."

now, i would not dispute Jodorowsky's imaginative genius if you paid me, but on the other hand i'm not sure we can be too surprised that American studios didn't want to pony up millions to a guy who'd never dealt with something on such a massive scale as this just because he says "Yeah, I'm gonna build a Salvador Dali puppet. Don't worry, it's all here in this giant book."

of course it's Nic Refn, master bullshit artist (whose recent films i very much enjoy nonetheless), gravely intoning here that "They were afraid of Alejandro's genius". you know, sure, they probably had no fucking idea what they had on their hands, but there's nothing in this documentary to suggest that it was ever going to come together. paying Orson Welles' restaurant tab isn't the sort of thing that looks good on a budget prospectus. certainly it's lamentable that a bunch of suits had the power to restrict this brilliant artist's vision, but maybe don't get a butthurt crank like Richard Stanley to deliver that particular telegram.

Henry Gale
05-21-2014, 10:29 AM
Aah c'mon, I think looking at this under that kind of surface-level lens as its own type of making-of documentary or a piece simply made up of people pumping up a myth of a film that has never and will never exist to ever be proven one way or another seem like ways to get the least out of it.

To me, it's completely about the celebration, collaboration, passion and joy of filmmaking, that just so happens to be distilled and singularly reflected in the accounts of these artists being brought together at a relatively early time in each of their careers when they put everything they had into an endlessly ambitious project (most of them on blind faith, a path the the studio system couldn't follow them down) that ultimately was never able to materialize, and instead goes onto have a second life as a perfect encapsulation of that undeniable determination they all had towards it, and which can never be diminished because there's no final product for anyone to ever have an opinion on one way or another.

If they'd even all talked like this about even a genre-defining classic, there'd still be room for anyone to see hyperbole and have their own subjective opinions on just how treasured that piece of work might deserve to be. But since there is no actual Jodorowsky's Dune, we can only revel in what could have been, and expand our own imagination accordingly.

It speaks to the determination and drive anyone should be open to have about anything in life or their work, even if it's not to the level of grandeur of Jodorowsky being convinced he would change the minds of a generation with a single movie. The documentary making the case of Giraud, O'Bannon, Giger, Foss and everyone later using and influencing other designs in the medium in he decades since shouldn't be seen as a snooty presentation saying there was simple cutting and pasting of the unrealized work they provided for Jodorowsky (whether they were involved in those later projects or not), but instead think of the seeds of his Dune and the spirit he infused in them that would inspire them to become the people they later did for the industry and themselves as artists.

It's like a love letter to the greatest cinema that never is, somehow always seems just a step below being achievable, but should be continually worth striving toward.

Milky Joe
05-23-2014, 08:10 AM
i would not dispute Jodorowsky's imaginative genius if you paid me, but on the other hand i'm not sure we can be too surprised that American studios didn't want to pony up millions to a guy who'd never dealt with something on such a massive scale as this

Correction: they didn't want to pony up millions to a guy who wouldn't be a slave to the studio system and do whatever the producers asked. They give millions to people who don't know what they're doing all the time. See Godzilla for a recent example.

Pop Trash
05-23-2014, 01:40 PM
Correction: they didn't want to pony up millions to a guy who wouldn't be a slave to the studio system and do whatever the producers asked. They give millions to people who don't know what they're doing all the time. See Godzilla for a recent example.

If by "not being a slave to the studio system" means "you refuse to develop a Dune that is less than 8 hours long," I kind of get it.

re: Boner though, I don't know how anyone with an interest in the outre world of 70s film production could not have fun with this. I mean, even if the whole thing was Jodorowsky ranting on camera for 90 minutes, I'd still probably give it a pass, but I also dug on the psych music set to all the old Dune renderings.

06-23-2014, 03:26 PM
Geat film. I absolutely believe that, with the money Jodorosky could have made an incredible Dune. If you look at the Holy Mountain, you can see that he was making the most from modest budgets. Maybe it would have gone overbudget, but I do not believe it would have bankrupted a studio. And I think Jodorowsky was using hyperbole to make a point when he claimed he would have made a twelve hour movie, that the length shouldn't matter, the art should come first.

06-28-2014, 06:58 PM
I didn't take Jodorowsky's 12-hour comment literally and I'm surprised that anyone does.

This is a beautiful documentary not only because of the story being told. Its universal theme is the dream and ambition that drive any important film to completion, and I can't help being moved by that.

07-27-2014, 06:23 AM
I took this as a sci-fi nerd version of movies like Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Cutie and the Boxer. They get up close to a creative subject and talk about passion and life and art. I find these movies highly enjoyable. My only criticism is that they do this without ever addressing any downside. There's no mention of the sacrifice and pain that all great art seems to require. That seems decidely inauthentic when we're looking at men dedicated to living authentic lives.

But: I love Jodorowsky's attitude and I could have probably listened to him rant for another 90 minutes. The dude is obviously crazy.

Aside from that, I thought this movie was incredibly well produced. They've got talking heads and limited archival materials and yet the visuals and the music and the pacing were all just astounding. Particularly the bits where Jodorowsky describes his vision for a scene and then the movie creates it using rudimentary storyboards and crude animation. Everything in this movie fired my imagination. It made me excited, again, for the endless possibility of what movies can be.

PS: I was a bit disappointed at the end, though, with all that conjecture about Jodorowsky's influence. That seemed mostly wishful thinking.

12-29-2014, 01:18 PM
As others noted, the lack of a a coherent explanation about actual length here undercuts so much of Jodorowsky's lamentations. While the filmmaker may have been trying to ecstatically highlight Jodorowsky's refusal to be boxed in by Hollywood producers, it doesn't really explain anything other than a completely logical defense of why Hollywood would refuse this production. I would have liked just a little more on the underdeveloped aspect of how Hollywood regarded sci-fi as a low budget enterprise until Star Wars; that could have provided additional context for their refusal.

All told, certainly a fascinating trip through an amazing array of talent gathered together, though it's all naturally predicated on a "wouldn't this have been fantastic, no?" prism.

09-10-2015, 09:31 PM
I think this film intends to be about how Hollywood missed the opportunity to produce a once-in-a-lifetime picture.

I think this film is really about how big-budget filmmaking might not be the right field for those who refuse to compromise.

Look, I love Jodorowsky as much as anyone. But how can anyone possibly have been expected to invest large amounts of money in an epic LSD fantasy in which the major players are mostly combustible personalities and the lead actor is the director's son? At some point, art is not just about the dreaming. It's about making the compromises necessary in order to actually get the job done and out there into the real world.

That said, I can completely relate to Jodorowsky's frustration and was thoroughly engaged in listening to him talk about his artistic impulses. Any man who made The Holy Mountain doesn't need to waste his time on regret.