Jodorowsky’s Dune

The Dance of Reality

Long gone is the ‘70s golden age of midnight movies, psychedelic surrealism, and film industries’ deistic attitudes towards auteurs. Perhaps no filmmaker’s career has suffered more from this change in commercial and cultural sensibilities than Alejandro Jodorowsky, who birthed the successive cult staples El Topo and The Holy Mountain in the 1970s but has only seen the realization of sporadic (if no less brilliant) productions since. All of which makes it all the more amazing that Jodorowsky has experienced something of a quiet career renaissance in 2014 as the subject of Frank Pavich’s documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune and as the director of The Dance of Reality, the filmmaker’s first completed feature in nearly a quarter century. Yet for the never-not-great-news of new Jodorowsky, these two films hardly feel like a collective appreciation for an underappreciated artist in the twilight of his career, despite the direct relationship they share (Jodorowsky’s Dune reunited the filmmaker with producer Michel Seydoux, which resulted in The Dance of Reality). Jodorowsky’s Dune and The Dance of Reality present a tale of two Jodorowskys: one an eccentric and hyperbolic personality dictating an uncompromising and supreme vision, the other an octogenarian artist using what might be his final venture behind the camera to reflect on his work’s relationship to his family history and ethnic identity. One film chronicles a work never completed, while the other bears all the burdens and wisdom of a late career entry.

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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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ff 2013 anticipated

The most magical time of year is once again upon us as Austin prepares to open its doors, coffee houses, bars, and RV-based donut shops to visitors from around the world coming to celebrate wonderful and the weird in international cinema with Fantastic Fest. This year’s roster is a bit lighter compared to recent years, but a reduction in quantity has no bearing on quality. The fest will also be taking place in a new Alamo Drafthouse this year at the Lakeline location, and if it’s anything like every other Drafthouse it’s going to be awesome. Two of the titles I can already vouch for as being incredibly entertaining slices of cinema include the blackly comic thriller from Israel, Big Bad Wolves, and the beautifully executed action/suspense Korean film, Confession of Murder. Both are so damn good that I may actually be visiting them for a second time. FSR’s team coverage this year will be in the mostly capable hands of Adam Charles, Neil Miller, Michael Treveloni, and me. We’re excited about the entire fest and just about every movie playing, but we decided to highlight our most anticipated by picking three films each to share below.

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