When the Academy released its short list of eligible documentaries earlier today, I was left scratching my head... I thought a few of those were considered ineligible since they had technically been released to festivals during the 2013 season... But rules and interpretation of rules combined with political influence have allowed a few things to stick around until this point. The first of these, and the one I'm most excited about would have to be Jodorowsky's Dune!
This is a documentary, masterfully sculpted by director Frank Pavich, about one of the most influential films that never made it to filming: Alejandro Jodorowsky's feature adaptation of Dune. The level of insight and detail given makes for a mind boggling experience. And I as the viewer was left wondering how this movie could've been so completely ignored and denied by the studios of the time. But the most interesting factor is the level of content that managed to be salvaged from this production and has since painted our imaginations for three generations.
Basically, Star Wars wouldn't be Star Wars without Dune... Alien would not be Alien... There are a myriad of great films that would not look or feel even remotely the same without Dune's influence... because everyone involved with that anti-production went on to find a home for their individual materials. When you think about it, it seems unbelievable to think that would be legal... but this was a different time. And honestly, blockbusters really didn't exist yet.
It's understandable, based on the kind of film Alejandro Jodorowsky used to make, that a studio might be remiss to want anything to do with this production... but it also seems fairly unjust given how little financial risk the budget of this thing would have actually posed anyone. Especially when they took the property, upon dropping this option, and utterly destroyed it with David Lynch's awkward attempt a short time later.
But that's beside the point. Frank Pavich has managed to put all of this information into a wonderful documentary so we can all be aware of the film's ongoing legacy. While I have yet to see the majority of documentary short listers... Jodorowsky's Dune is good enough for me to name it an overwhelmingly likely candidate for an official nomination.