Saturday, December 4

Dune: the famous storyboard of Jodorowsky’s film project up for auction in Paris

It is the most famous film that has never seen the light of day. In 1975, the Franco-Chilean author and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky embarked on the adaptation of the SF Dune novel by Franck Herbert. A totally disproportionate project that he could not complete, but from which was taken a splendid storyboard that has become cult, now auctioned by Christie’s Monday, November 22, in Paris.

An imposing work, estimated between 25,000 and 35,000 euros, currently on display at the auction house in the 8th arrondissement, which owes a lot to the immense talent of its designers, the French Jean Giraud, alias Moebius, the British science illustrator- fiction Chris Foss, and Swiss artist, Alien inspiration, Hans Ruedi Giger.

With a size of 21 by 29.5 centimeters, it consists of 11 color plates, 1 title page, 268 monochrome plates, with dialogues, captions and didascalies in French and English and studies of characters, sets and scenes. vehicles. All the plates are in fact photographic reproductions, printed only on the back. This is the 5th existing copy – another was auctioned a few years ago – and it is assumed that a dozen would have been made in all, one of which still belongs to Alejandro Jodorowsky.

A disproportionate project

Before David Lynch released his version at the cinema, in 1984, the Chilean had therefore tried to seduce Hollywood studios to raise the 5 million dollars he needed to launch the production phase of his film, helped in this by French producer Michel Seydoux. But with the madness that we know, the financiers did not follow through.


It must be said that the course of the project had something to impress: 10 to 15 hours of film planned, and a cast which enlisted, among others, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Alain Delon, David Carradine or Orson Wells. The sets were gargantuan, and the music had to be composed by Magma, then the Pink Floyd, all in a psychedelic atmosphere dear to the time and to the Franco-Chilean artist.

But its impact had beautiful consequences for the cinema, since it inspired many artists and creators of pop culture and science fiction, in the first place. Star Wars, by George Lucas (1977) and Alien by Ridley Scott (1979), with the work of Hans Giger.

In 2013, this project and the resulting storyboard inspired Frank Pavich’s fascinating documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune, in which we can see the admiration that Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Drive, …) had for Franco -chilean and to this storyboard.

More recently, the release on screens last September of the version signed Denis Villeneuve obviously sheds more light on this crazy project. Failing to find there the grain of madness and the totally baroque vision of Jodorowsky – that the author Franck Herbert would undoubtedly have appreciated – the Canadian director has at least the merit of having financially assured of what to achieve the continuation of his first opus, which is not expected before 2023.

The renewed interest in this wildly creative period of the 1970s and 80s, on the science fiction side, illustrated among other things by the publication of the legendary French magazine Métal Hurlant (again available), has recently found an echo with the upcoming project of the director Taika Waititi (Thor, Jojo Rabbit, …).

At the beginning of the month, he said he was ready to adapt the other masterpiece shared between Jodorowsky and Moebius, the cult comic book L’Incal, developed from 1980, on which many artists have drawn for sprinkle it with their SF works.

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