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Film & DVD

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

Documentary about the making of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never-completed ‘Dune’ is a wondrous image of what might have been

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And, yes, Jodorowsky is still a little bitter. After all, not only did his planning and creativity come to naught, he subjected his son, Brontis, to two grueling years of full-time martial arts and combat training in preparation for his portrayal of Paul Atreides. Though business partner and French producer Michel Seydoux both invested and raised substantial sums to bring Dune to fruition, no Hollywood studio would sign on. Eager to recoup some of his losses, Seydoux sold off the rights to Dino De Laurentiis, who eventually produced (along with his daughter) the disastrous 1984 adaptation directed by David Lynch.

Pavich and industry fans like director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) assert that Jodorowsky’s vision of Dune would have set science fiction cinema on a path very different than the one eventually charted by Star Wars. Its success, they speculate, would have ushered in an age of intelligent big-screen speculative fiction. Given the mercurial talents and extravagant ambitions involved, it seems far more likely the film would have eclipsed Heaven’s Gate as a studio-busting flop. Still, it’s nice to dream, and Jodorowosky certainly offers up a wondrous image of what might have been.

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