I really enjoy documentaries about movies that never came to be, stuff like The Life and Death of Superman Returns and Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau. And similar to those poignantly enjoyable ruminations on films that never came to pass, Jodorowsky’s Dune, from director Frank Pavich, is a wonderful exploration of one of my favorite subjects: Cinematic Madness. Charting the highs and lows of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempts to adapt Frank Herbert’s famous novel for the big screen in the mid-70’s, Pavich infuses humor, celebrity, and eccentricity into his tale of a filmmaker who never stopped believing in himself even when other people around him fell by the wayside. And it’s downright fascinating to see how much of Jodorowsky’s pre-production artwork and designs would end up being used (stolen?) in future sci-fi blockbusters such as Alien and Star Wars, to name only two.
David Lynch would of course go on to film and release his cult classic version of Dune, while a big-budget remake has been in development for years with filmmakers such as Peter Berg and Pierre Morel coming and going; hot-shot director Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Arrival, Sicario, the upcoming Blade Runner 2049) is currently working on a version as his next feature film. Jodorowsky’s Dune is a heartfelt tribute to the power of cinema and how this particular art form can grab someone for their entire life and drive them crazy with unfulfilled visions; I bet Herzog is a big fan of this piece of work. I’ve only seen Jodorowsky’s El Topo and The Holy Mountain, so I think it’s time to really delve into this man’s body of work, and I must say, I really, really respect and admire his devotion to simulating the effects of LSD for his audience.