Alejandro Jodorowsky

ff jodorowskys dune

After the success of his film’s El Topo and The  Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky was given the green light to make whatever he wanted. Without hesitation he elected to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune. He had never read the book, and instead had only heard from a friend that it was good. His decision turned out to be one that he’d never regret, it would go on to haunt and influence the rest of his life and play a pivotal role in the future of science-fiction film. An artist first and filmmaker second, Jodorowsky aimed to assemble a team of warriors who fought for artistic merit over money. Luckily, producer Michel Seydoux was not only one such warrior but also one who could scare up big money to bring the collective to fruition. The talent pool for the project was impressive, especially by today’s standards. It included such notable  names as Dan O’Bannon, Jean (Moebius) Giraud, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, David Carradine, H.R. Giger and Pink Floyd (that’s the short list). Jodorowky wanted to create a film that would open minds and expand audiences’ consciousness, to subject them to an eye opening experience unlike anything they had ever seen. Combining Herbet’s space opera with his own blend of amped-up psychedelic spirituality, everything was in place for Dune to be the  mind-bending epic of his dreams. Then it slipped away.

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Jodorowsky Dune

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Jodoroskwy_as_El_Topo

Alejandro Jodorowsky is, perhaps more than any other living filmmaker that comes to mind, a visionary who stands entirely alone. His influences come from multiple sources – surrealism, the spaghetti western, theater, etc. – but he is loyal to no particular artistic movement or historical moment. He’s a brazenly original, playfully anarchistic, uncalculating provocateur and walking anachronism whose work speaks to and across various artistic traditions, belonging exclusively to none. Born to Jewish Ukranian parents in Tocopilla, Chile in 1929, Jodorowsky grew to acquire such a dedicated interest in arts and theater that he moved to France in the 1950s to study mime with Etienne Decroux before starting a career in cinema with his short La Cravate in 1957. Since then, Jodorowsky became the helmer of midnight classics like the acid western El Topo and his psychedelic John-and-Yoko-funded Brechtian epic The Holy Mountain (The IFC Center puts both these films on midnight rotation at least once a month). Jodorowsky also famously attempted an ambitious but never-realized adaptation of Dune and recently completed his seventh feature film, The Dance of Reality. Both The Dance of Reality and the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune premiered at this year’s Cannes film festival, so the esoteric filmmaking veteran (at age 84) is suddenly experiencing a peak in the spotlight. Here’s some free film school wisdom we can learn from the man who officiated Marilyn Manson’s most recent wedding.

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In one of the best panels in recent memory, Guillermo del Toro and Nicholas Winding Refn chose to combine their allotted time in Hall H (for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Drive respectively). What resulted was a rare conversation from two unique filmmakers who transcended the normal marketing mechanism of Comic-Con to deliver some insight and information about their processes. There were many different facets to it, and they talked about their movies some of course, but ultimately it became a master class in making films. So here’s a little bit of free film school from two visionaries.

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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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