Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Some Rambling about Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

Frank Pavich’s documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s gloriously failed – and also glorious – attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s Dune (the project that eventually turned into David Lynch’s existing yet not glorious at all film), is a joy to watch. It’s an inspiring film about the power of outrageously insane plans (let’s start our movie with a long shot through the galaxy, why don’t we?), starring Jodorowsky as some sort of joyous trickster half-god telling stories that defy belief, even if a lot of what he tells may have actually happened. Which, of course, makes the improbability of it all all the more wonderful.

It’s a film that can’t help but leave a viewer with even the least bit of heart shouting (like one of Jodorowsky’s beloved “spiritual warriors”, one assumes) “let’s make some art and change the world!” or “let’s write-up a movie!”, or whatever. Really, if you come down to it, this film about a film that was never made is much more life-affirming and positive and rousing than anything Hollywood throws Oscars at.

It’s also a pretty funny film, be it Jodorowsky telling stories about his casting of Salvador Dali as Emperor of the Universe, his successful attempt to convince Pink Floyd his messianic movie to change the world is a bit more important than their junk food, or how he sent his son to what I can’t help but call Übermensch training – the last very much in the spirit of Herbert’s original, I can’t help but add – or how he describes an (awesome) ending to his movie that to me seems quite the opposite of Herbert’s philosophy, and then adds that that’s of course not in the book, as if anyone could doubt it. I was laughing a lot while watching this, not from a position of pointing and laughing at the crazy people, but laughing with the freedom of Jodorowsky’s approach, the daring to just do what he thought was right, not wasting a second on thinking if what he’s doing also just might be a little (or a lot) crazy, or faintly ridiculous, or just impossible. It’s awesome in the older meaning of the word.

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