Main Tabs


SF/Bay Area photo diary pt.2

Pretty much the only thing I have to talk about is the weather. It's cliché, I know, but this Montreal winter has been particularly brutal this year.  Engaging in denial, wool, and reminiscing of warmer times may or may not help me get through this North of the Wall winter, but it's worth a try.
Ahhh...I can feel the warmth on my face already...

After the sunset at Freemont Older Open Space Preserve and hanging with some dear friends and toddlers, we headed to some wine tastings in the Healdsburg area (lots of love for J Vineyards) and got some middle-of-the-day booze naps in Novato.
Onwards to San Francisco.

More crab was found at Ocean Beach as we sipped our Trouble Coffee in the sand.  Much architecture was admired. No, wait, much architecture was consistently inciting exclamations of love and real estate envy.  I could barely keep it together.


1. #lookup, Outerlands
2. a work by Ted Noten in the Ornamentum booth at the FOG Design+Art fair
3. more java at Blue Bottle Coffee in the Heath Ceramics factory

What, is it the end already? Back to reality


Jodorowsky's Dune

image from here

I love documentary films, they are my go-to cinematic selections that feed that side of me that needs to know.  I'm a compulsive google-er and I've always loved watching DVD/Blu-ray extras after the movie.  Now present me with a documentary about the making of a movie?  About Alejandro Jodorowsky's efforts to bring Frank Herbert's Dune to life? Give it to me.

I used to photograph in-between frames of films back in the CRT television days.  This was one image I saved from El Topo (1970), my first introduction to Jodorowsky.  This film is a surrealist and absurdist hero's journey in the form of a western, starring Jodorowsky himself as the main figure. This film falls in the same school of thought featuring visually rich and symbolically heavy tableaux as Parajanov or Fellini have created in their earlier films.  

In Jodorowsky's Dune (2013), the viewer is introduced to an ambitious feat in science-fiction filmmaking, one that never comes to fruition.  The film re-lives Jodorowsky's journey in assembling his army of "spiritual warriors" with names like H.R Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Orson Welles and Salvador Dali (!?!?!?) being attached to the project. This totally boggled my mind. 

Jodorowsky and Pavich, image from here

There are loads of incredible nuggets in this Frank Pavich directed doc, but so much of the life of the film comes from the central character, Jodorowsky himself, bursting with energy and colourful quotes.

On filmmaking:
"What is the goal of life? It's to create yourself a soul. For me, movies are an art...more than an industry.  And it's the search of the human painting, as literature, as poetry.  Movies are that for me."

On his ambitions:
"My ambition with Dune was tremendous.  So what I wanted was to create a prophet. I want to create a prophet to change the young minds of all the world.  For me Dune will be the coming of a god.  Artistical, cinematographical god.  For me, it was not to make a picture.  It was something deeper.  I wanted to make something sacred, free, with a new perspective.  Open the mind!  [...] My ego, my intellect, I want to open!  And I start the fight to make Dune."

On assembling his army or team of collaborators:
"In that time I was like a prophet, I was enlightened.  And I give to them that they are not only making a picture.  They are making something important for humanity.  They have a mission, they were warriors."

Richard Stanley on Jodorowsky:
"Alejandro is a bit like a dictator or a cult leader in assembling his army around him.  Alejandro's genius was picking those people and finding absolutely the right people for designing the spaceship, the clothes or designing the whole look of the world.  I think he seized the potential of science-ficiton."

In the end, it was not meant to be.  Despite amount of prep that had gone into the project, financing did not go through citing the lack of confidence in the director's ability to helm such a big project. In 1984, a non-sensical studio romp of Dune was released, directed by David Lynch, who has since distanced himself from the project.

Jodorowsky on the studio system:
"This system make of us slaves.  Without dignity. Without depth.  With a devil in our pocket.  This incredible money in our pocket.  This money.  This shit.  This nothing. This paper who have nothing inside.  Movies have heart.  Have mind.  Have power.  Have ambition.  I wanted to do something like that.  Why not?"

On viewing Lynch's Dune:
"When I heard that David Lynch would direct, I have a pain because I admire David Lynch.  He can do it! [...] I suffer because it was my dream, another person will do that maybe better than me.  [...] I will not go to see [the picture] because I will die.  And my sons say, "No, we are warriors.  You need to come and see that." [...] I start to see the picture and step by step, step by step, step by step, I became happy because the picture was awful!  It's a failure!  Well, it's a human reaction no?  I say, "It is not possible.  Is not David Lynch because he is a big artist."  Is the producer that did that."

Although we might fantasize of the greatness that could have been, is it possible that Jodorowsky was spared from disaster and the weight of such a big production?  Maybe the film would have toiled in a cinematic hell as Lynch's did?  
In the end Jodorowsky fulfills his prophecy as the influence of the well-documented imagery and the assembled warriors have since permeated the cinematic landscape.  They are all whispering, "I am Dune."