November 2015 Newsletter
The Greatest Movie That Was Never Made
A few weeks ago I happened to watch “Jodorowsky’s Dune” a fascinating documentary film about the the “greatest movie that was never made”. The book is about the Chilean film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s glorious failure to create his cinematic version of one of the greatest Sci Fi novels of all time, Dune by Frank Herbert. Jodorowsky purchased the rights in 1975 and for the next few years dedicated himself to this project. Jodorowsky’s adaptation was actually liberated from the original theme and text in this book as he dived into spirituality and religious concepts, while getting the approval of Herbert.
For those of you who are not familiar with the book: The award winning novel Dune, which became the bestseller Sci Fi novel of all time was written in 1965 by Frank Herbert. It it set in the distant future, where humanity lives among the stars as a feudal society, with noble houses controlling different planets, under the rulership of an emperor. The protagonist of the story is Paul Atreides, whose family house becomes in charge of the planet Arrakis (derived from the Arabic word Al Rakisa - The Dancer due to its celestial pattern). This is one example of how Herbert was able to weave endless details that make this fictional world a real one in the mind of the reader.
In this novel (and the next ones in the Dune series), Herbert tried to figure out what is the true purpose of the Cosmos, and though many readers read the story as a sort of a thrilling sci fi novel it is much more than that. Herbert created a multi-layered plot with sub contexts tying together politics, religion, ecology, technology, human psyche and philosophy.
In order to emphasize his drive to understand the purpose of the cosmos, he used the metaphor of the “Spice Melange”, the most precious substance in the universe, that exist only on the desert planet Arrakis and enable the one who consumes it to expand his consciousness and literally see the future. That is the reason that the control of Arrakis is a coveted and dangerous as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its "spice".
Frank Herbert saw the universe as a living thing, as can be seen in the metaphor of Planet arrakis as a living entity. The cosmos gains consciousness and awareness through evolution, in such a way, that throughout the ages the human being will gain such an awareness that he and the cosmic will become one. Herbert uses the term “Kwisatz Haderach” taken from the kabbalistic term “Kefitzat Haderech”, the ability to be at different places at the same time. It also literally means “to shorten the way” or simply a “breakthrough” since the plot’s hero Paul Atreides becomes the next step in human evolution.
Jodorowsky actually used this perspective and found common ground with Herbert who approved Jodorowsky’s vision and storyboard which was a mix of religious concepts and philosophy. Since I believe that thoughts live forever, it was fascinating to discover how through the years after his glorious failure; many ideas and artistic themes found their way to many films in the years after, which made this film that wasn’t even made one of the most influential films of all time...
I’d like to share with you another interesting perspective about the connection between Frank Herbert’s Dune and gold and silver jewelry:
The fictional native people of the desert planet Arrakis are wearing “water jewelry” since water are scarce in their harsh environment. When I wanted to find out why we, humans, covet the bright luster of gold and silver, I’ve discovered that many researchers claim that since the early humans wandered through the vasts of the savannas, they always tried to find the sparkling gold or silver hue of distant water reservoirs on the horizon. According to these recent studies, that is the reason we find the shimmering sparkle of gold and silver so appealing… It is embedded in us...
Other Related Cosmic Pieces
Thank you for reading
David and Ka-Gold Team