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By Dirk van Sloten, M.S.

dune

As close to justice as we’ll get.

I love David Lynch’s Dune.

Even though I probably shouldn’t, since Lynch got raped on the final cut, and reportedly was bullied by the producer to stay on an impossible schedule.

In Jodorowsky’s Dune, a brilliant documentary by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky himself is a lot less kind when talking about Lynch’s Dune. However, you have to see the documentary to get the emotional context that explains his strong reaction to it. Jodorowsky also acknowledges it most likely wasn’t Lynch’s doing that was to blame for how his Dune turned out (and ever since Lynch has insisted on having final cut for every film he worked on).

Perhaps it’s a shame then that Lynch wasn’t interviewed to talk about Dune. Pavich has pretty much said they didn’t want to ask Lynch since Jodorowsky had such a strong reaction. However, I would like to think that Lynch has a strong enough spine and high enough intellect to be able to deal with a fellow artist’s emotional reaction. Especially when knowing this artist (Jodorowsky) had been raped by Hollywood even more (arguably) regarding his vision of Dune (and many years of hard work in prepping it) than Lynch had.

Still, this documentary isn’t about Lynch’s Dune. It’s not about the Alan Smithee Dune. In fact, it’s about a movie that was never made, and yet has left its indelible footprint in the Science Fiction genre. Hardcore fans of the genre already knew this. But they’ve never seen it illustrated with such passion, conviction, and love as they’ll be able to see in Jodorowsky’s Dune. This documentary can be considered the Paul Muad’Dib of documentaries for it brings much needed justice and recognition to the artists who have been so important in shaping the face of modern Science Fiction.

This documentary will without a doubt spawn a whole new generation of Jodorowsky fans. Which, with a little luck, will yield proper BluRay releases of Jodorowsky’s work. (At the time of this writing, the few titles available seem to be out of print, and available only with, for most, prohibitively high price tags).

Three years in production, Jodorowsky’s Dune is the most complete account on the topic. It’s the best thing next to installing a brain-tap directly into Jodorowsky’s skull. Original art work was brought to life with skillful animations, that should carve a scar into the hearts of the Hollywood producers who said “no” at the time.

Dealing with a rather dark topic, this documentary is bright, humorous, and easily accessible to a mainstream audience, and will still deliver a grand experience to hardcore fans of Jodorowsky’s and Science Fiction. Even audience members who have no prior knowledge of Dune (in whichever form), Jodorowsky, or even Science Fiction, will have an absolutely satisfying screening; they will leave the theater feeling enriched and somehow empowered. This is no small accomplishment.

The interviewed subjects mostly speak for themselves, with a minimum amount of narration and only at the right times in the right places. Scoring, often overdone or underdone in other documentaries, provided exactly the right support and mood. As far as I’m concerned, this flick was the perfect blend of the spiritual, the technical, and the entertaining styles of filmmaking.

By not seeing this gem on the big screen, you will do yourself a great injustice. Don’t let that happen!

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