Cannes Film Festival – Director’s Fortnight, 2013
Is it possible that one of the most influential forces in the history of cinema as we know it was a film that wasn’t actually made? That’s the case made by director Frank Pavich in his documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” a celebration of a landmark in science-fiction cinema that never left pre-production. And darned if we aren’t educated, entertained, and slightly awe-struck by the time the film ends.
The popular novel “Dune” ultimately did meet the silver screen in David Lynch’s 1984 cult classic. But that would pale in comparison the version Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mexican master of the surreal, was planning in the mid-1970s. Involving everyone from Pink Floyd to Orson Welles and even Salvador Dalí, his take on “Dune” would certainly be unlike anything the movies had ever seen.
But rather than mourning the midnight movie that could have been, Pavich uses his documentary as a platform for celebrating the boundless creativity of Jodorowsky and all the obstacles such a singular vision can create. It’s undeniably fun to watch Jodorowsky interviewed about all his grandiose plans, and such energy serves as a wonderful reminder of how blissful it is to watch a director revel in the joy of moviemaking.
Pavich also takes care to show us all the ways in which Jodorowsky’s unfinished project trickled out into the industry and popped up in several landmark films. Featuring appearances by acclaimed filmmakers like Nicolas Winding Refn (who dedicated his Cannes 2013 entry “Only God Forgives” to Jodorwosky) along with rabidly zealous journalists such as Devin Faraci and Drew McWeeny, “Jodorowsky’s Dune” makes for one heck of a party for the cinema. Its allure is practically impossible to resist if you love movies. B+ /