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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

entry arrow12:00 AM | We Need to Try

Failures are heartbreaking, but they can be beautiful. There is a point in Frank Pavich's Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) -- his marvelous documentary on Alejandro Jodorowsky's aborted effort to film the iconic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert in the mid-1970s -- where the irrepressible Mexican filmmaker suddenly shows great and angry emotion about the circumstances that finally led to the shutting down of production. Jodorowsky had already done an elaborate pre-production on the project, having gathered together the best talents he could find to flesh out his vision (he called them "spiritual warriors"), and the producer needed $5 million more from Hollywood executives just to see the film's completion. But Hollywood, while impressed, finally said no. And the greatest film that never was grounded to a halt. Apparently, the suits found all the preparation perfect, but Hollywood found the director's vision frightening. Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn recounts: "I believe that the reason they didn't do this film is because they were afraid of him. They were afraid of his imagination, they were afraid of his mind, and they were afraid of what it was going to do to them. And that's the real reason they didn't do this film: they were scared." It is by this point in the film that Jodorowsky finally explodes, and you see a man protective of his vision remembering old disappointments: "Movies have heart! They have mind! They have power! They have ambition! I wanted to do something like that! ... And why not?" And then he suddenly goes into contemplative quiet, a sadness over the memory etched into his face, his voice. But the film, even when unmade, went on to influence many of the films of the genre that came soon after, from Star Wars to Raiders of the Lost Ark, from Blade Runner to The Matrix, from Terminator to Flash Gordon to Alien. And what the documentary finally tells us is that not all failures are bad: unfulfilled creativity can live on, and have its imprint somewhere else. "For me to fail is only to change the way... If you fail, is not important," Jodorowsky finally says. "We need to try."

I shall always remember this.

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