TIFF 2013: Jodorowsky’s Dune Review

Jodorowsky's Dune

Jodorowsky’s Dune

TIFF Docs

Director: Frank Pavich

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of those legendary unmade projects. An epic sci-fi adventure developed before Star Wars and directed by one of cinema’s greatest eccentrics that would have promised such bizarre sights as Salvador Dali playing the emperor of the universe and bio-gothic designs from HR Giger before Alien, all backed by a Pink Floyd soundtrack. Director Frank Pavich dives into the strange tale behind a stranger project in this intriguing doc starring an enthusiastic (if melancholic) Jodorowsky outlining his unmade masterpiece along with animated sequences of the proposed film based on a massive book of storyboards and designs used to tempt Hollywood execs in the 70s.

The story is undeniably intriguing, filled with hilarious anecdotes about how an all-star team was assembled (Orson Welles signed up based on a private chef) and the predictably oddball filmmaking techniques that Jodorowsky planned to employ (like taking his son out of school for months of daily fight training to play the warrior hero). A final montage shows the surprisingly influence the unmade movie had on fantasy films in the ensuing decades, while also showing that the psychedelic cross between Flash Gordon and Alien may have been more of a curiosity than a masterpiece. The doc itself is fascinating for film geeks and the behind-the-scenes story is probably more entertaining than the actual movie might have been. It’ll only ever play for a select crowd, but those folks will eat it up and demand a tie-in book for desert. (Phil Brown)

Screens:

Tuesday, September 10, 8:00pm, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Wednesday, September 11, 9:15pm, Scotiabank 2


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