The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Will the curse of 'Dune' be lifted in Venice?
Set many millennia in the future, "Dune" follows the tribal battles for control of "spice", a drug that extends life and delivers prophetic powers, on the inhospitable planet of Arrakis, which also happens to be infested with giant worms.

by Francois Becker and Eric Randolph

VENICE (AFP).- With a $165-million budget and a cast to rival the star system of Arrakis, hopes are high for "Dune" as it prepares to land in Venice next Friday for its world premiere.

The cast list is exciting enough, including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac and Javier Bardem.

But what has sci-fi fans really feverish is the man behind the camera: Canadian Denis Villeneuve.

Through hits like "Sicario" and "Arrival", Villeneuve has put himself alongside Christopher Nolan as one of the rare directors who can deliver deadly serious cinema that also packs theatres.

Crucially, he has also proved a safe pair of hands when handling totems of 20th-century geekdom, after his critically adored "Blade Runner 2049", a sequel to the sci-fi classic.

A prototype

Set many millennia in the future, "Dune" follows the tribal battles for control of "spice", a drug that extends life and delivers prophetic powers, on the inhospitable planet of Arrakis, which also happens to be infested with giant worms.

The brainchild of author Frank Herbert, "Dune" was first published in 1965 and became a six-volume space opera of massive influence, not least on "Star Wars".

"It is the biggest-selling and most-read science fiction novel ever, but also the most commented upon and the most studied," said Renaud Guillemin, an eminent member of France's community of "Duniens".

"It was the prototype for the sort of world-building universe in science fiction books, with their own coherence, references and foundations," said Guillemain, comparing it to what "Lord of the Rings" did for fantasy.

Some of the images and ideas have also become sci-fi staples, including its giant sandworms (hello "Tremors"), suits that recycle sweat, or the Bene Gesserit, an order of female martial arts experts with thought-control powers.

Fans also praise its visionary edge, anticipating debates over global warming and the impact of technology.


Despite its ready-made audience and clear cinematic potential, previous transfers to film have been famously difficult.

"It is cursed by its excellence," said Lloyd Chery, author of a French reference book about Dune.

Cult Franco-Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky was the first to try his hand, spending no less than four years in the 1970s on the project, with Salvador Dali, Alain Delon and Orson Welles lined up, along with Pink Floyd for the music.

In the end, the money could not match the ambition and it became part of tragic movie lore, recounted in the 2013 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune".

In the 1980s, in the wake of "Star Wars", studios grew more interested.

Fresh from "Alien", Ridley Scott was tapped to direct, before it was passed to David Lynch.

Seven versions of the script and six punishing months filming in Mexico led to many monumental sets being built and thousands of costumes.

But Lynch's mad vision was fatally undermined by the Hollywood machine, and the movie bombed on release in 1984.

A trilogy?

There have been popular TV adaptations since, including "Children of Dune" starring James McAvoy, but never on the grand scale that the novels seemed to demand.

Cue Villeneuve, and his all-star cast.

Far from the "nightmare" experienced by Lynch, he appears over the moon with his film, and is already thinking about two possible sequels, according to an interview he gave CBC Radio Canada.

But that will depend on the commercial success of the first instalment.

Villeneuve has already clashed with Warner Bros over its decision to release the film on streaming platforms alongside the theatre release.

"There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth," Villeneuve said in a statement about the decision last December.

While that clash plays out in Hollywood boardrooms, all eyes will turn to the battles on Arrakis when "Dune" premiers on September 3.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

August 30, 2021

Exhibition of Asian and Asian American art debuts at Palmer Museum of Art

New display at Tate Modern brings together a selection of Phyllida Barlow's works

Gun that killed Billy the Kid fetches $6 mn at auction

Christie's announces the Collection of Lois B. Torf

Very personal computing: In artist's new work, AI meets fatherhood

Christie's offers property from India House Club in Asian Art and Americana Week sales

Ed Asner, star of 'Lou Grant' and 'Up,' is dead at 91

Exhibition explores how women have used art to create change in the world

JHB Gallery presents Amanda Means at Jetsam Studio

When Europe offered Black composers an ear

Simon de Pury announces new artist studio exhibition with works by Vanessa Beecroft

Jane Austen comes to Bath after more than 200 years

Largest personal contribution to the Meadows Museum establishes Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture

Serbian film wins top prize at Czech festival

Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel opens an exhibition of works by Mauro Restiffe

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum presents 'Reversible Destiny: Australian and Japanese Contemporary Photography'

White Columns opens an exhibition of works by Nicole Storm

Will the curse of 'Dune' be lifted in Venice?

Al Capone's possessions, now for sale, show two sides of the gangster

'It was like I'd never done it before': How Sally Rooney wrote again

Bob Diamond, the 'tunnel king' of Brooklyn, dies at 61

He's still fighting developers for the park his father founded

The uniform cool of Charlie Watts

Smithsonian to display Emmett Till historical marker

The main advantages of personal proxies

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful