Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Jodorowsky's Dune

Dune is a novel by Frank Herbert. It is a story of family and betrayal and other planets and destiny and holy war among the far-flung reaches of an ancient galactic empire. It's filled with magic and drugs and crazy technology and giant sand worms burrowing through vast deserts. It's an incredible book, you should definitely read it, if you haven't already. Yes, yes, it's big and complicated, with lots of words and no pictures to speak of, but it's good, very good. I'm not so hot on the follow-up books personally, but the original, the first one: Dune? I love it. It really does deserve it's status as a classic.

And, much like the story of Don Quixote--although for a different reason--it's one of those things that have long been considered to be "unfilmable".

David Lynch tried in 1984 and he kind of succeeded, but only kind of. It's a film worth watching, sure, but maybe not one to go too far out of your way for. It's a bit awkwardly paced and weirdly scripted and cut up, and it wasn't the best adaptation to begin with, but it's not totally Lynch's fault. The studios wanted a new Star Wars and didn't quite understand who they were asking or what the book was (unsurprisingly) and the end result had too many hands all over it before hitting the screen. Here's the original trailer. Like I said: It's good, but, well... your mileage might vary. More recently, the Syfy Channel tried to do a longer miniseries version and while it's definitely a much more faithful adaptation... well, actually that's probably the best you can actually say about that one.

But these weren't the only attempts...

Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of those names. A visionary Director and auteur, he's long been a kind of film-nerd pass-code, inhabiting an intersection born both of staggering talent and from being active during a time when it wasn't as easy to track down and see these smaller foreign films as it is today. So if you were familiar with his work back in the day, you were a cool kid. He didn't make a lot of movies, and for awhile he kind of stopped, so he's never really got his big public due, but his version of Dune--his attempt to film the great unfilmable--is a thing of film lore, a legendary creature too beautiful to live. Strange and wonderful and awesome and new and way ahead of its time, it ultimately crashed and burned during production and the winds of Hollywood scattered the ashes to the four corners of the world. Gone. Poof. 

But traces remain, and that's what this documentary is about...

Looks amazing, right? And Jodorowsky's passion is infectious. It opens this Friday, but only in you lucky duck limited markets on the coast and the download options aren't too clear at the moment, so hopefully it will go wider for the rest of us. I know I'll be watching out for it. You should too.


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