This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (El Topo) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger.
In 1975, following the runaway success of his art-house freak-outs El Topo and Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to Frank Herbert's Dune — and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Jodorowsky enlisted an elite group of artistic mercenaries, including French comic book artist Moebius, who illustrated the storyboards; screenwriter Dan O'Bannon (Dark Star, Alien); artist H.R. Giger (Alien); and sci-fi paperback illustrator Chris Foss. For the cast, he lined up icons ranging from Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger to Orson Welles, and even his own son, who was put through two years of gruelling martial arts training to prepare for his role. Unfortunately, the film was never made.
Director Frank Pavich tackles one of cinema's
most enthralling “ what could have
been ” stories, weaving interviews with the
charismatic Jodorowsky, his collaborators,
and supporters (including Drive director
Nicolas Winding Refn), together with animation
to bring Moebius' storyboards to
life. Even though the project exists only in
the imaginations of its creators, and as the
hundreds of illustrations they left behind,
Pavich's documentary chooses not to dwell on failure, but rather celebrates the ways in
which the creative dreams of Dune planted
seeds for many other iconic films that came
after it, from Star Wars to Alien to countless
more. This is an inspirational story
about the power of the creative spirit, one
that establishes Jodorowsky as a master of
cinema and a true visionary of our time.