The French-Canadian director of Blade Runner 2049 brings an astonishing visual sensibility to Frank Herbert’s ‘unfilmable’ sci-fi classic

For years, it seemed that the greatest film ever to come from Frank Herbert’s quasi-biblical 1960s sci-fi novel Dune would be a 2013 documentary about the failure to make a great film out of Herbert’s novel. In Jodorowsky’s Dune, director Frank Pavich documented the Chilean-French maverick’s unhinged (and ultimately abortive) effort to mount a screen adaptation with a projected 14-hour running time, featuring a starring role for Salvador Dalí and a burning giraffe. Really.

Crucially, Pavich’s engrossing doc suggested that although Jodorowsky’s film never actually existed, it still cast a long creative shadow, with the pre-production work of the French graphic novelist Moebius and Swiss artist HR Giger influencing Star Wars, Alien and pretty much all subsequent screen sci-fi, a claim that cannot be made about David Lynch’s finished but fatally flawed 1984 version.

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