Frank Pavich’s documentary, “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” explores director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s legendary attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” to the big screen — one of cinema’s great what-ifs. The documentary covers the two years from the project’s inception to 1975, when it fell apart.
Pavich fills the film with plenty of Jodorowsky himself, who is quite a character: prone to making statements about how the project would be “a spiritual quest” for those involved and “a film that would give you hallucinations without drugs.” Collaborators are interviewed as well, and Pavich also makes good use of the copious artwork produced in preproduction by H.R. Giger, Moebius, Dan O’Bannon and Chris Foss, even rendering a few animations to illustrate some scenes. The documentary flows along to a continuous score by Kurt Stenzel, whose mastery of ’70s analog space music is such that you’ll swear you’re listening to lost tapes from Tangerine Dream. For science-fiction fans, this is a must-see, bittersweet in glimpsing what might have been a landmark film, but equally fascinating to see how it nevertheless influenced a generation’s worth of sci-fi movies.