Chilean-born Alejandro Jodorowsky is responsible for some of the weirdest, most psychedelic movies of the 1970s. His breakthrough hit was the quasi-Western El Topo which become a monster hit on the midnight circuit in New York City, which he followed up with the even more wildly ambitious The Holy Mountain. On the back of these films Jodorowsky was offered the opportunity to adapt and film and epic version of Frank Herbert’s revered sci-fi novel, Dune (which he had never read). Jodorowsky assembled an enviable team of visionary collaborators, including H.R. Giger, Dan O’Bannon, Moebius and Pink Floyd, and this wonderfully absorbing and wide-eyed documentary dreams of the project that might have been, but tragically was shut down before a single frame was shot.
Dune was eventually made by David Lynch, while many of the creative minds involved disseminated their ideas from Dune into later projects – most notably, Giger and O’Bannon, who were both heavily involved in Ridley Scott’s Alien. The documentary relies heavily on interviews with Jodorowsky himself, but the man is such a fascinating, eccentric figure that we are swept away by even the descriptions of his dreams, and there’s an intriguing interview with Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who claims to be one of the only people in the world to have “seen Jodorowsky’s Dune.” To understand what he meant, and to see glimpses of the film for yourself, this is an absolutely unmissable eulogy to one of the more notorious unrealised epics in the vast cinematic graveyard.