Saturday, 19 October 2013


Frank Pavich


See this film by whatever means necessary. 

Of how ideas can be brought to life and their many latent forms, it is about Alejandro Jodorowsky's contagious passion and the extraordinary team (warriors) that he searched for to make a film based on Dune, a book by Frank Herbert. Jodorowsky had not read Dune when he started and said "I did not want to respect the novel, I wanted to recreate it. For me Dune did not belong to Frank Herbert as 'Don Quixote' did not belong to Cervantes." It was his Myth to tell as he willed.
Dune is an unusual film in that it was not recorded on celluloid but by drawing and in other forms. Principally it is an enormous book of 3,000 or so drawings that Jean Giraud (Moebius) drew whilst being directed by Jodorowsky. That is, the two of them compiled every scene, designed and drew each camera angle, transition and direction over two years. 
Dali, who was to be the insane Emperor of the Galaxy, introduced Jodorowsky to H.R.Giger, a surrealist Swiss artist, who became the designer of Harkonnen Island for the film. Dan O'Bannon, who had recently made 'Dark Star' with fellow film student John Carpenter, was persuaded to move to Paris ("sell everything you own and get to Paris now") to design the special effects. 

Dune partially exists in the projects that the team members went on to make. O'Bannon co-wrote 'Alien' and 'Total Recall'. H.R.Giger designed the alien itself and the extra terrestrial environments for 'Alien'. O'Bannon wrote one of the first cyberpunk texts, a comic strip illustrated by Moebius, 'The Long Tomorrow' published in 'Metal Hurlant'  that influenced the design of 'Bladerunner' amongst other films and also influenced William Gibson's writing. Jodorowsky and Moebius wrote and drew the wonderful and beautiful 'The Incal' after the Dune project itself ended.

To design the ships for Dune Jodorowsky found Chris Foss (who is giving a lecture at Greenwich, slated for March). Jodorowsky's description of the not then found warrior he needed and the design brief for the nature of the ships:

"For the third warrior I required a clever dreamer who can draw the space ships in different way than that of American films:

I do not want that the man conquers space
In the ships of NASA
These concentration camps of the spirit
These gigantic freezers vomiting the imperialism
These slaughters of plundering and plunder
This arrogance of bronze and thirst
This eunuchoid science
Not the dribble of transistorised and riveted hulks
The divine one
The delirious one
The superb one
I want magical entities, vibrating vehicles
To prolong to be to it abyss
Like fish of a timeless ocean. I want
Jewels, mechanics as perfect as the heart
Womb-ships anterooms
Rebirth into other dimensions
I want whore-ships driven
By the sperm of passionate ejaculations
In an engine of flesh
I want rockets complex and secret,
Humming-bird ornithopters,
Sipping the thousand-year-old nectar of dwarf stars... 

This is why I wrote to Christopher Foss, an English draughtsman who illustrated covers of science fiction books... Like Giraud, he had never thought of the cinema... With a great enthusiasm, he left London and settled in Paris... This artist, with the ships which he produced for Dune, marked the cinema. He could produce semi-alive machines which could be metamorphosed with the color of the stones of space... He could produce thirsty battleships dying century after century in a star desert awaiting the alive body which will fill their empty tanks of subtle secretions of its heart..."

Alejandro Jodorowsky:

Jodorowsky's Dune:

Chris Foss:

H.R. Giger:


Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius. 'The Incal':

Dan O'Bannon:

"One day someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, "Is it half full or half empty?" So I drank the water. No more problem."