A film for a niche market (and I’m smack-bang part of it), Jodorowsky’s Dune tells the story of a great unrealised film project: a huge production of Frank Herbert’s Dune by Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who created the “Midnight Movie” phenomenon in 1970 with El Topo and is also well remembered for 1973’s The Magic Mountain (and who has recently released his first film in 23 years, The Dance of Reality).
Jodorowsky’s ambitions for the film were hugely ambitious and fanciful, and his list of intended collaborators – some of whom came on board, and some of whom were less than fascinated – makes for some entertaining portraits of some major ‘70s artists across all fields. The director created a massive book containing painted storyboards of the entire film, along with detailed design and other notes, and our many glimpses into this are vibrant and exhilarating, a true examination of an eccentric creative imagination at full bloom.
Of course, if Jodorowsky was boring, the film would be a dud, but he’s anything but, and the film is as much a portrait of him as it is his doomed project. It could have as easily been called Jodorowsky. He’s worthy of this film, all on his own, but his Dune is certainly a worthy recipient as well. We’ll never see it, but we have this.