Documentary 'Jodorowsky's Dune' argues case for lost masterpiece

Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:54am EDT
 
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By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO (Reuters) - In 1974, cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky set out to make a film of the science fiction novel "Dune," with music by Pink Floyd, a cast that included Mick Jagger, and the goal of letting the audience experience an LSD hallucination without drugs.

The movie was never made. But "Jodorowsky's Dune," a documentary shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday, argues the film is not only a lost masterpiece, but that it helped spawn the popular "Alien" movie franchise and left its mark on many science-fiction film classics.

The idea for the documentary was sparked when Frank Pavich, an American filmmaker based in Geneva, saw a list that ranked the greatest movie projects never made.

"It's interesting to think of this alternative world of films that could have been," he told Reuters.

"(Jodorowsky's "Dune") is always the story that jumped out to us because it's the most fantastical out of all of them. It's the biggest by far."

Jodorowsky, a Chilean-born filmmaker with roots in avant-garde theater, had gained fame with the 1970 release of his surreal western "El Topo." That was followed by "The Holy Mountain," which was financed partly by John Lennon and became an underground favorite.

The now-octogenarian director recounts in the documentary that when asked then what his next project would be, he replied "Dune," a book he had not read but only heard about from a friend.

One of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time, "Dune," written by Frank Herbert, is an epic story about the battle for control of a desert planet that produces a spice essential for space travel.   Continued...

 
Director Alejandro Jodorowsky gestures in this undated handout courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. In 1974, cult director Jodorowsky set out to make a film of the science fiction novel "Dune," with music by Pink Floyd, a cast including Mick Jagger, and the goal of letting the audience experience an LSD hallucination without drugs. REUTERS/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics/David Cavallo/Handout via Reuters