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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is mixed on Dune trailer: "Industrial cinema is incompatible with auteur cinema"

Illustration for article titled Alejandro Jodorowsky is mixed on iDune/i trailer: Industrial cinema is incompatible with auteur cinema
Photo: Sylvain Lefevre (Getty Images, Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Frank Herbert’s Dune franchise ultimately overwhelmed the first filmmaker to try and bring it to the screen. In Jodorowsky’s Dune, the visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky unpacked how his sumptuous vision for the story—set designs by H.R. Giger, art by Mœbius, a Salvador Dalí cameo—was simply never meant to be. Another legend, David Lynch, succeeded in creating his own adaptation, but saw it flop after being mangled by the studio—to this day, the filmmaker cites it as his only source of professional displeasure. Last week, Warner Bros. shared the first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming two-part adaptation, and while we know where Lynch standshe’s not interested, thanks—we’ve yet to hear from Jodorowsky. Until now.

In an interview with France’s Premiere magazine (via Indiewire), the Holy Mountain director praised the trailer as “very well done” while also raising an eyebrow at its studio backing. “We can see that it is industrial cinema, that there is a lot of money, and that it was very expensive,” he said. But if it was very expensive, it must pay in proportion. And that is the problem: There [are] no surprises. The form is identical to what is done everywhere. The lighting, the acting, everything is predictable.”


For as impressive as the trailer looks, he seems to be be saying, Villeneuve’s Dune nevertheless resembles, at least at first look, the crop of big-budget spectacles that continue to proliferate modern Hollywood. But his dig isn’t with Villeneuve, specifically, but rather the pact any filmmaker enters into when they take money from a conglomerate.

“Industrial cinema is incompatible with auteur cinema,” he continued. “For the former, money comes before. For the second, it’s the opposite, whatever the quality of a director, whether my friend Nicolas Winding Refn or Denis Villeneuve. Industrial cinema promotes entertainment, it is a show that is not intended to change humanity or society.”

Perhaps his tune will change when he sees the full movie? Probably not, given that he’ll always be haunted by his own lost vision. You, however, will be able to see Dune when it hits theaters on December 18. 

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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