Feature

Jodorowsky’s Dune

A landmark film that was never made.

Directed by Frank Pavich(PG-13)

***

This documentary explores “one of the great what-ifs in movie history,” said Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly. What if the Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky had followed through with his beyond-ambitious 1970s adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Dune? Jodorowsky had won generous backing for the production and had signed Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, and Salvador Dalí on as cast members, but the maker of such trippy midnight films as El Topo blew through millions before he shot a single frame, and never won the backing to carry on. Now 85, Jodorowsky remains an “exuberant, cantankerous, and philosophical presence” in Frank Pavich’s “fascinating and depressing” documentary, said Richard Brody in NewYorker.com. But the story’s only sad if you believe Dune would have succeeded, said David Thomson in The New Republic. Yes, there are scenes in Star Wars and Alien that appear to have been lifted directly from Dune’s widely circulated storyboards, but perhaps the project has “finally found its perfect form”—as a 90-minute ode rather than a four-hour sci-fi marathon.

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