Last night I was lucky enough to see Frank Pavich’s brand new documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune, and by the time I left the theatre I knew I had just witnessed one of the most extraordinary stories in Hollywood history. Pavich chronicles the life and career of Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose surrealist films thrilled a cult fanbase around the world. His cult success with El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1974) caught the attention of producer Michel Seydoux, who loved Jodorowsky’s work so much he offered the filmmaker the opportunity to make the movie of his dreams. When asked which movie he wanted to bring to life, Jodorowsky said his dream was to make the film version of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi masterpiece novel, DUNE.
Over the next two years, Jodorowsky assembled a team of soon-to-be legendary artists such as H.R. Giger, Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Mœbius) for the drawings, and Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and others for the music. Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger also agreed to join the cast, along with Jodorowsky’s son, Brontis, who would play the protagonist, Paul. By the end of these two years, Jodorowsky had created his enormous DUNE concept bible, and he and his producers were ready to present the project to each of the major Hollywood studios for financing. Each major studio received a copy of the massive book and a presentation by Jodorowsky and the producers. Within weeks the project was dead, as Hollywood execs were concerned about Jodorowsky’s refusal to commit to a 90-minute running time (Jodorowsky wanted an unlimited running time).
The rest is history, as they say, and cinema’s greatest science fiction epic became part of Hollywood legend. Frank Pavich spent two years interviewing all of the key players in the story, and if you are lucky enough to live in a city where Jodorowsky’s Dune is playing on the big screen, you are in store for the thrill of a lifetime. An extraordinary footnote to the story is the fact that Jodorowsky, Seydoux, and Jodorowsky’s son, Brontis, re-teamed after decades apart for Jodorowsky’s first film in 23 years — The Dance of Reality, which is Jodorowsky’s autobiography, and will soon be released worldwide. You can watch the trailers for both, above and below. To find out if Jodorowsky’s Dune is playing in a theatre near you, be sure to visit JodorowskysDune.com.