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Jodorowsky’s Dune (documentary)

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Deep in the annals of movie geekdom there is much lore about an aborted adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” that was to have been directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean visionary behind avant-garde cult classics “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain.” Knowing how weird the eventual David Lynch version was, the mind reels to contemplate what bizarreness we’d have gotten from a director who’s 2.6 times as insane (figures are approximate).

Now we have the next best thing to Jodorowsky’s “Dune”: “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” a sparkling, almost giddy documentary by Frank Pavich about the “Dune” that never was. With the cheerful Jodorowsky himself as our guide and his magnificently storyboarded script to provide illustration, Pavich talks to artists, designers, and technicians who worked on the project, and shows how influential it proved to be even though it didn’t get made. Far from being a bitter howl of frustration, the doc is an upbeat celebration of movie love and the creative process, brimming with entertaining anecdotes about 1970s Hollywood and what it’s like to work with a mad (but very friendly) genius.

B (1 hr., 30 min.; PG-13, some mild profanity, violent and sexual images.)