Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sydney Film Festival Diary Days 5-8

As I enter the final third of this year’s Sydney Film Festival, still with a loaded schedule, here are some of the films I watched on Days 5-8.

Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich)

Alejandro Jodorowsky and his assembly of creative geniuses/spiritual warriors reflect on the most ambitious film never made. After blowing audience’s minds and broadening the boundaries of the possibilities of filmmaking with El Topo and The Holy Mountain, AJ became obsessed with adapting Frank Herbert’s sci-fi bible, Dune. His unbridled ambition, a god-like desire to ‘change the world’ through art, involved a longer long-take than Orson Welles ‘A Touch of Evil’, forcing his son through years of combat training in prep for a role, the casting of Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger, and incorporating the music of Pink Floyd. His version, in 1975, involved a brutal multi-amputation and themes as grand as the Cosmos. Would it have changed the world if he pulled it off? Maybe. He certainly possessed the passion, and the madness, to do it.

One of the most fascinating things about this film is how the mammoth blueprint for this film, which was never green-lit, had a thumbprint on many later sci-fi epics (including Star Wars, 1977). The epic story-boarded screenplay and concept art is animatedly brought to life, and piece-by-piece we come to see the big picture as it was envisioned. We hear from critics, colleagues and fellow filmmakers (like Nicolas Winding Refn), but you cling to every word from the crazy 84-year-old. He’s a real marvel. His frustration at never being able to realize his dream has been bottled up inside all these years, and he exorcises all of those feelings here. He takes great pleasure in telling the stories of how he found the team to make that dream a reality, and can’t hide the pleasure he felt when he first realized Lynch’s version was a failure. With real insight into the creative process, this is a cinematic, briskly paced and thoroughly entertaining documentary about one of the industry’s eccentric geniuses. ★★★★

Continue reading at Graffiti With Punctuation.

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