Jodorowsky's Dune (2014) Review
I am in awe. This film has changed me on a very personal level, has rechanneled my energy, has strengthened my resolve and expanded my ambition. It’s the kind of film people need to know about, and everyone can learn something from. It’s a game changer; more specifically, it’s about a gamechanger. It’s about a film that was never even made, but will be made infinitely.
Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean filmmaker, in his 80s now, but back in the 70s he was a hot underground talent. With small budgets and a theater background, he employed symbolically and spiritually-charged imagery and mythological narrative elements to create visionary art films that opened the minds of many filmmakers of his generation (Fando y Lis, El Topo, The Holy Mountain). Because they were so wild and controversial, however, they became the first real, uber-popular midnight movies. Riding his wave of success, Jodorowsky got an offer to make any movie he wanted, so, of course, he chose a book he’d never read: the popular sci-fi novel, Dune. But the narrative was not necessarily important. He wanted to create a work of art that would change not only the realm of possibility in cinema, but the consciousness of every viewer. This was his tremendous mission, and he saw himself as a spiritual warrior.
This documentary does a superb job of capturing the passion of Jodorowsky’s sentiment through interviews with the filmmaker, but also of substantiating it through interviews with the many lives he changed and inspired. From the assembling of his dream team—which included important, carefully chosen roles for H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, Pink Ffloyd, and many more, ALL of whom emphatically said yes—to the painstaking attention to detail and preparation that culminated in a fully realized project which lacked only distribution, this doc takes you on the whole mind-blowing journey of the filmmaking process.
But this is not only about the magic of putting together this film; it’s also about the magic latent in each of us. Jodorowsky manifest his vision. Each huge artist he dared to wish for fell right into his lap. His ambition, focus, and intention were so pure that nothing was impossible. That is, until studios made it so. They refused to distribute this fully-funded dream for fear of the power of its creator. And instead they farmed all his ideas and dream team out to other creators for other movies. Star Wars, Alien, Blade Runner…these are just a few of the enormous sci-fi smashes that ripped pages from this man’s mind and heart to make them their own.
You must see this extraordinary film because it will make you remember. It’ll remind you that it’s ok to dream big, that it’s important to do so, that if you have the power within you it’s your responsibility to use it. More importantly it shows you that if you are pure to your core and true to yourself, nothing can stop you, ultimately. Dune got made a hundred times, and still is to this day. And now it inspires generation after generation of filmmakers. No risk-averse, money hungry business can stop that. That is the power of the human soul. We must hang on tightly to it, we must honor it, and we must never stop fighting for it.