Surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s unmade movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune is one of the all-time great “what ifs” in cinematic history, so I suppose it’s only natural that someone would ask him what he thinks about the new trailer that was released for Denis Villeneueve’s upcoming adaptation. And while Jodorowsky had some nice things to say about his fellow director, it also sounds like he was a little underwhelmed by what he saw in the trailer.
Jodorowsky on Dune
“I wish his Dune would be a great success, because Denis Villeneuve is a nice director, about whom I have been told a lot,” Jodorowsky said in a conversation with the French outlet Le Point (via The Playlist). “I saw the trailer. It’s very well done. We see that this is industrial cinema, that there is a lot of money, and that it has cost a lot of money. But if it was very expensive, it must pay off in proportion. And this is the problem: there are no surprises. The form is identical to what is done everywhere, the lighting, the acting, everything is predictable. Industrial cinema is incompatible with auteur cinema. For the first, money comes before the work. For the second, it is the reverse. And this, whatever the quality of a director, whether it is my friend Nicolas Winding Refn or Denis Villeneuve. Industrial cinema promotes entertainment, it is a show that is not intended to change humanity or society.”
That assessment makes a lot of sense considering his bonkers vision for what he wanted to do with the movie, but in a way, comparing his unfiltered, 14-hour would-be take on the property to what Villeneuve is doing is like comparing apples and oranges. Working within the confines of the modern Hollywood studio system brings a host of specific challenges with it – they’re just different challenges than Jodorowsky faces as someone who doesn’t work within that system.
I will give him this, though: as a book reader, there wasn’t anything truly surprising in that trailer. It all looked great, but I can see where Jodorowsky is coming from when he talks about everything being predictable. Here’s hoping the film itself has a few surprises up its sleeve.
As of this writing, Dune is slated to hit theaters on December 18, 2020…but don’t be shocked to see it join the sandworms under the planet’s surface and eventually emerge sometime in 2021.
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September 18, 2020