Dune: Herbert, Lynch, Jodorowsky

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(From the “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” 2013)

Lynch’s Dune is one of the worst films ever made and I wanted to watch it. I postponed it for many years, and one of the reasons was: I wanted it to be done properly. I wanted to start with the original novel by Frank Herbert, but somehow, I didn’t have either time or desire to read it, and once I had any, I simply forgot about the book. What gave me that necessary push was the new Twin Peaks TV series scheduled for the next year. To my shame, I have never given the series my full attention: I have some childhood memories of my mom sitting in an armchair in front of the TV and some weird things happening on the screen. There was also a slogan “Who killed Laura Palmer” on T-shirts that I remember. Anyway, after watching the Peaks there was left only one unwatched film by Lynch and that was Dune, and I wanted it bagged.

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I opened the book and the world of the Dune impressed me. It was the same dear world I read about before, but viewed by other writers and depicted through other genres. The loving descriptions of the desert reminded me of essays by Edward Abbey. People of the desert with their blue on blue eyes reminded me of the blue color of Berber clothes from the novels by Paul Bowles. And even though the bland characters of the Dune turned it into a superhero novel and made it painful to read, I persisted, if only for the sake of this desert world with oriental undertones. Once the planet becomes a blooming garden in one of the volumes, I guess I will lose all interest in it.

As soon as I turned the last page, I switched on the movie. It was an abomination from the first minutes to the last. Surprisingly, Herbert kinda liked the film and thought of it as a “visual feast.” Ohmy, ohmy. Well, I liked the steampunk elements and a mark of Lynch’s weirdness in it but all in all, it is a gross experience, which I wouldn’t dare to repeat. If the novel inspired imagination, the film showed its limitations.

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Jodorowsky’s Dune brought the inspiration back to me though. The director of the documentary, Frank Pavich, pushes an idea that the unfilmed Dune left its footprints over the best sci-fi movies made in Hollywood from the seventies on: Starwars, Terminator, Alien, Prometheus, etc. And if the Herbert’s Dune was about the rise of a superhero, the Lynch’s was about the rise of a god, Jodorowsky’s was about the god in each of us, the process of creation of a soul.

For me though, it’s not only about the visual side or the concept of the Dune that Jodorowsky has never made, but his own contagious obsession with Dune. Jodorowsky is a madman in a positive sense. Even if I don’t understand half of what he says through his movies, they fill me with wonder at the world and give me inspiration to explore it.

What next? I guess now I’m into the comic worlds created by Jodorowsky and Moebius, which I somehow missed behind Jodorowsky’s movie giants.

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